Do you feel lost and alone in a sadness that you can’t seem to shake?
Have you forgotten what it’s like to feel hopeful, vibrant and excited about your life?
Have you tried to talk with friends and family but don’t feel that they really get it?
Depression hurts and it is so much worse when you feel alone in it.
Depression is a common mental health condition that has a variety of physical and mental symptoms.
Although we all feel down and fed up every now and again, depression is more than just that.
If you have the condition, you can be sad for weeks, or even months at a time.
Types of depression include:
Living with this condition can be difficult, not only for sufferers, but also for those around them.
Despite this, many sufferers will wait a long time before seeking help. This is especially true if they fear it will see them rejected, ridiculed or deprived of a sense of control.
Others may simply be afraid to confront their problems.
If you have the depression, you are likely to have at least five of the following depression symptoms:
You may feel:
You may exhibit:
You may also:
You may not notice if you have developed depression, especially if it has been a gradual process over a number of weeks or months.
Sometimes it takes a friend, a family member or a partner to point out that you may have a problem.
Sometimes it’s instantly apparent what the cause is, but other times there isn’t an obvious reason why you feel so down.
It could be that you’ve lost something or someone that you value, or it could stem from disappointment or frustration.
Usually there will be more than one reason why you suffer from depression, and these reasons differ from person to person.
Common reasons behind the development of depression include:
Distressing life events can take their toll on us. Divorce, family problems or losing a job are all serious moments in our lives that can alter our mood in the long-term.
Losing someone that is close to you, even from natural causes, can increase the risk. It’s not always simply the loss that causes it, it’s the way we deal with it. If you don’t grieve or express your feelings properly, they can build up and contribute towards depression.
Your childhood experiences can affect you in adult life. If you were physically or emotionally abused, or not taught to cope with troubles that enter your life, it could lead you to having problems as you grow up.
Frozen anger is a term that’s closely related to depression. You may have gone through something that caused you to become angry, but at the time you couldn’t express your feelings properly. This type of anger becomes suppressed; it can then build up and become a primary cause of depression.
Feeling like you’re alone, stressed, physically exhausted and/or have no one to talk to can all cause the mental health condition.
Although social media itself doesn’t cause depression, constantly comparing your life to other peoples’ has been heavily linked.
Some types of physical illness can alter how the brain works and cause depression. Such conditions include:
Heavy drinking on a regular basis can make you more susceptible to developing depression.
This mental health condition will vary in terms of severity and how it impacts a sufferer's life.
Below are the different types of depression:
Mild depression - When depression symptoms have only a limited impact on a daily life. Generally, sufferers of mild depression will experience a persistent low mood and spirit. They may find it difficult to motivate themselves to do things they normally enjoy.
Major (clinical) depression - A more severe form that can lead to hospital admission. Symptoms will be more prominent and will interfere with an individual's daily life. They can affect an individual's eating habits, sleeping, and other day-to-day activities. Some sufferers may feel suicidal and that life is no longer worth living.
Bipolar disorder - A form of manic depression characterized by extreme highs and lows. For example when a period of hyperactivity where sufferers are excited and planning overambitious tasks is followed by a period of severe depression.
Postnatal depression - A condition that can develop in women between two weeks and two years after childbirth.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - A form that’s closely related to the length of days. It typically occurs in the autumn and winter months when the days are shorter. Symptoms tend to alleviate when the days get brighter and longer.
If you experience depression symptoms for most of the day, every day, for more than two weeks, you should seek help.
If your feelings start affecting many parts of your life, this is a sign you may need professional support.
The parts of your life that depression can have a negative impact on include, but are not limited to:
Thoughts of suicide and self-harm are also warning signs that your condition is getting worse. If you experience these, you should seek treatment for depression.
For many, being treated for depression can seem an impossible task, but the sooner help is sought the sooner symptoms can be alleviated. In some cases, the illness can disappear without treatment. This is not always the case however and there is a danger that living with the condition will put significant emotional and physical strain on your health and well-being. Therefore, many people with depression opt for treatment.
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