Most of us have felt low from time to time, but usually the low mood passes after a few days. Sometimes, a person sinks into depression to a point where they may need professional help to get back to normal. Depression does not mean that you are weak or lazy. It is a common illness like high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis. It can occur at any age. The good news is that there are things you can do to help yourself and treatments that work well.
Signs of depression
When we become depressed, we may experience:
- Loss of identify and self-esteem
- Sadness, when there is maybe nothing to feel sad about
- Extreme guilt over minor matters
- A sense of failure, when this is not realistic
- Loneliness, even among other people
- Tearfulness, when there is nothing to cry about
- Constant exhaustion
- Feelings of hopelessness, misery or despair
- Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Coping with depression
- Avoid sitting or lying about doing nothing
- Identify things you used to do regularly and things which you used to enjoy
- Plan to gradually increase the routine of pleasant activities
- If a task seems too difficult, try breaking it into a series of small steps
- Above all reward yourself for your efforts
- Avoid discussions of bad feelings. Solving problems is more helpful
- If your appetite is poor, eat small quantities regularly and drink lots of fluids
- Keep to a normal sleep routine. Avoid daytime naps. At night get up if awake for 30 mins or more, and try to relax
- If you go off sex, keep some physical closeness with partner and reassure them it is not personal but a temporary symptom.
Depression is associated with low mood, low energy, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, disturbed sleep, poor appetite and reduced concentration. Thoughts may be preoccupied with negatively connected with yourself, others and the world in general, such as ‘I am a complete failure and a waste of space’. This can lead to significant difficulty in an individual’s ability to carry out everyday tasks.
Psychological help may typically involve encouraging the individual to get a more balanced view of themselves, others and the world. You can really boost your mood through gradually engaging with pleasurable activities and activities that give you a sense of achievement. Further techniques may include problem solving, time management and assertiveness.