Common signs of depression:
- "My mind is a fug, I find myself feeling guilty with no confidence, the future looks bleak and I can't figure out if there is any point to things."
- "I'm not interested in being involved with other people, I can't be bothered to talk to them or take part in social events and activities."
- "I feel physically compromised because my sleep patterns and eating patterns have changed, I'm not bothered about lovemaking, I'm tired all the time and I would rather just sit and watch box sets with something to drink and a takeaway than go out anywhere."
- "I just feel numb and disinterested in anything or anyone I haven't had a good laugh or a good cry in ages."
- "This isn't normal - why do I feel this way?"
Life is difficult and sometimes depression is an appropriate response to events that happen in our lives like bereavment, job loss, divorce, and other major upheavals. If so then the effects on us are usually short-lived and we recover our sense of wellbeing without needing medication or professional support. However, if you are experiencing the symptoms of depression for more than a few months and it becomes a longer-term issue this is an indication that some assistance would be helpful as you are probably stuck in a self-sustaining loop of wonky thinking and patterns of behaviour.
How can I get out of this?
There are things that you can do to help yourself - paying attention to your lifestyle by taking more exercise, finding outside interests, meeting new people, getting involved in social activities and contributing to the life of your local community, becoming aware of any unhelpful habits like drinking too much, not eating properly, etc. But if you are really stuck then counselling and psychotherapy can help you move forward.
In sessions we focus on lifting the symptoms that are present and then on creating strategies for preventing relapse and promoting ongoing wellbeing. Once things improve it becomes possible to explore what triggered depression and discover any underlying issues to address any life changes or personal development work that may be necessary.
I often find myself feeling anxious - does this mean that I am not really depressed?
Feeling anxious doesn't mean you can't feel depressed as well, these states often go hand-in-hand and the common feature is that thinking patterns are fuelling the symptoms of both.
I have started thinking that life just isn't worth living, is this normal?
Well, it isn't unusual in depressive states but this perspective can deepen, leading to suicidal thoughts or other forms of self-harm. If this is affecting you, make an appointment to see your GP or a counsellor or psychotherapist straight away and if you feel at imminent risk of acting on these thoughts speak to the Samaritans or MIND in the first instance.