Depression is one of the most well-known mental health issues. We often hear people say “I feel depressed” when experiencing low mood for a day or two, while others cannot get out of bed for weeks at a time. The manifestations of depression vary by type and individual. It’s important to recognize when you may be suffering from depression. Symptoms of depression include:
• Lack of interest in things that used to bring pleasure
• Low energy
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Poor concentration
• Poor memory
• Loss of appetite or increased appetite
• Crying for seemingly no reason
• Suicidal thoughts
• Anxiety, restlessness, or agitation
• A sense of hopelessness
Depression is not just a list of symptoms, depression can become pervasive and impact all aspects of a person’s life. Depression is more then just feeling sad, it is much more severe and can make the daily activities of life seem impossible. Careers, relationships, marriages, and basic tasks such as chores and self care can be disrupted by depression.
Living with depression is frustrating and painful for those suffering and those close to them. If your loved one is suffering it can be tempting to try and ‘fix’ or help them to ‘snap out of it’. The best thing to do for a person suffering from depression is to be a good listener, encourage them to seek help, and never belittle or minimize how they are feeling. Offering practical help to someone in a depressed state, such as getting groceries or assisting with chores, shows real care and concern and may help to alleviate the suffering.
Some studies suggest that men and women suffer from depression are the same rate but there are differences in what men and women report to their doctors which may make it more difficult for men to be diagnosed.
Depression Counselling and Types of Depression
Major Depression – sufferers have at least five or more symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Major depression is the most commonly diagnosed and can occur monthly, yearly, or a few times in life.
SAD – Seasonal affective disorder is a condition where mood is linked to seasonal states. Suffers of SAD go through cycles of major depression commonly in the darker colder winter months.
Persistent Depressive Disorder – some symptoms may be less severe than those of major depression while others can be worse and can last at least 2 years.
Postpartum Depression – occurs during or after pregnancy and interferes with daily life for weeks or months.
Psychotic Depression – includes episodes of psychosis or delusions.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – is a condition that can cause severe depression and links to the two weeks leading up to the menstrual cycle. It is similar to PMS but with more serious effects.
The good news is that depression is treatable. Symptoms lasting more than two weeks could indicate a major depressive disorder. Medication and therapy are effective in dealing with depression; both work to adjust neurotransmitters and alleviate depressed mood.
Other lifestyle changes can support your recovery as well. Exercise boosts brain chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. Daily exercise for 30 to 60 minutes can be as effective in treating depression as medication. Isolation is a risk factor for depression; regular contact with friends and family can help boost mood. Proper nutrition and sleep can also help alleviate depression symptoms.
If you are suffering from depression, please reach out to a Dr. or therapist. You don’t need to suffer alone, counseling for depression may be part of the solution. Through therapy, we can explore your feelings and beliefs about yourself and the world around you to build new meaning and a preferred narrative for your life.