Have you been feeling low, hopeless or sad for more than two weeks?
If you answered this question with yes, then you could be suffering from depression. Don’t worry, you have found the right place to help you.
Depression is a lot more than being sad for a couple of days. Depression can last for months, even years, and can have a massive effect on your every day life. But there is advice and many treatment options out there which can help you to overcome it.
Take a look and learn more about depression, plus what you can do to help yourself feel better.
Although everyone’s experiences of depression will differ in some way, there are some common symptoms which you may recognise.
Suffering from some of these symptoms may not necessarily mean a person is depressed. Additionally, it''s also important to note that not every person who is experiencing depression will experience these symptoms all at the same time.
Mental/Cognitive symptoms: These include; feeling tearful and sad, having feelings of helplessness, having no motivation or desire to do things, and feeling irritable or unable to tolerate others. You may struggle to concentrate or focus, and some feel an urge to harm themselves in someway or may have suicidal thoughts.
Physical symptoms: Common symptoms in this area are; a significantly increased/decreased appetite, feeling constantly drained/exhausted and a loss of libido. Many people who are depressed struggle sleeping in some way. Another side effect can be new and unexplained aches and pains in the body.
Social symptoms: People who are depressed can lose interest in doing things which they usually enjoy, such as hobbies. They may take part in fewer social activities, or not join in as much. They could appear quieter and seem distracted in a social setting.
If you yourself are unsure about any of these symptoms, or you know someone who may be suffering from any of these symptoms, it''s always best to see a GP for advice and reassurance.
…then the most important thing you can do is to talk to someone.
It doesn’t matter who you discuss it with, as long as it is someone you trust and you feel you can be honest with. Family, friends and colleagues can all be of great support to you. And it doesn’t need to be face to face if you are not comfortable with that. It can be a text, an email, or a letter. If you don’t feel you can talk to anybody you know, then there are numerous helplines and support networks you can join, including us at Anxiety United. We have a very friendly forum of like minded people who are always more than happy to talk and to offer advice.
It is important that you speak to your GP, as they will be able to signpost you to different organisations locally who may be able to offer you support. Don’t be afraid to talk to them – 1 in 4 people suffer with a mental health problem, so they are used to supporting people. As well as this, your GP will talk to you about a diagnosis, and could offer you medication to help with your symptoms. Your GP is a great place that can refer you for talking therapies, such as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to address your problems. You can also call 111 (formerly NHS Direct) for advice.
Make time for yourself and do things that you enjoy which bring you happiness. Listen to music, go for a walk, cuddle a hot water bottle, watch your favourite movie... anything that is soothing or of enjoyment to you. Show compassion toward yourself, and give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of life. Allow yourself time for recovery to take place.
If you feel you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, please contact 999 or go to your nearest Accident & Emergency department.
The truth is, there is no definitive reason, as everybody has different experiences. For many sufferers, their depression may be triggered by a specific event, such as a bereavement or a divorce. Depression sometimes develops after suffering from a long term illness.
There is an argument that mental illnesses can be inherited and passed on through families. Some studies have shown that if you have a family member who has depression, then you are more likely to suffer from it yourself. However, more research is needed in this area.
Much of the time though, depression seems to strike for no apparent reason. Some sufferers have described themselves as ‘slowly slipping’ into depression and cannot identify a specific reason as to why it has happened to them. And if that sounds like you, it is nothing to worry about and it doesn’t make you ‘abnormal’ in any way. Infact, it happens to a lot of people.
0845 123 2320
Information and support for anyone affected by depression
24-hour helpline: 08457 90 90 90
Mon - Fri 9am - 6pm 0300 123 3393