What is Depression? Do I have it?
Everyone has felt depressed from time to time, and often this feeling passes in a matter of days or even hours for most people. Suffering from long term depression, however, can be scary, exhausting and debilitating. Depression is a medical condition that needs medical attention, whether you think you are depressed “because your life sucks” or whether you have no idea why you are depressed because your life is generally good. If you are suffering from depression, do not suffer alone. Your doctor can help you and here at SF we can listen and support you through this difficult time.
So, What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder which causes the sufferer to feel low in mood for a prolonged period of time, and is more than just feeling a bit sad or upset for a few days. Depression can disrupt your thought process and can be severely debilitating as it can affect different areas of your life in negative ways. It tends to manifest itself with you feeling low in mood, having periods of tearfulness, persistent negative thoughts about yourself and the world around you and you may even have thoughts of suicide and wanting to hurt yourself. Depression can also be a symptom of a more severe mental health disorder, so it is important to seek help straight away.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
There are many different signs and symptoms of depression. Depression affects everybody differently, so you may find symptoms from person to person vary. The most common symptoms are:
- Feelings of persistent sadness that does not go away
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling worthless
- Becoming more tearful than usual
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Comfort eating or completely losing your appetite
- Losing confidence in yourself
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling anxious
- Not being able to concentrate properly
- Isolating yourself from your friends and family
- Feeling more tired and lethargic than usual
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Feelings of guilt
- Loss of sex drive
- Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
- Self harm
- Thoughts of wanting to end your life
If you are in crisis, have immediate plans to end your own life or have harmed yourself then please seek medical attention urgently by either calling the emergency services, calling a crisis line or going to the Emergency Department.
Treatment for Depression
Depression is a very treatable illness and recovery is very achievable with the right help and treatment. To seek help for your depression, you must first see your GP or family doctor so they can diagnose you with depression. Only a doctor can diagnose depression and help you work out which treatment plan is right for you. They may also want to run some blood tests to ensure that there are no physical illnesses causing your depression. Your doctor may suggest starting you on medication to treat your depression, such as anti-depressants, or they may suggest that you need a course of therapy, or a combination of both. Research suggests that recovery success rates in people with depression are much higher in people who receive a combination of therapy and medication.
Your doctor will want to monitor your depression closely so you will need to see your doctor regularly, especially if you need to take medication. In more complex cases where depression isn’t responding to treatment, your doctor may suggest that you are seen by a psychiatrist. This is nothing to be scared of or worried about. A psychiatrist is a specialist in mental health, and will ensure that you are receiving the right treatment and will monitor you closely.
Tips for Seeking Help With Depression
It is very scary when you are talking to the doctor for the first time. It can feel intimidating and can put you off going to see them. Here a few tips to help you talk to your doctor:
Write down everything you would like to say to the doctor. This is helpful because you may feel too anxious to talk when you get there, so if you can’t talk or forget something, this can be very helpful for both you and your doctor.
Take somebody with you. This may not be applicable in all cases, but taking somebody who knows you well and trusts you can help. Their presence may help you feel more at ease, they can be a great source of support and they may be able to talk to the doctor about how they feel the depression is affecting you (the doctor will ask for your permission to speak to them and they will do this with you present).
Be honest. Being honest is the best way to getting the correct help and treatment. If you only tell the doctor half the story, then they will not get the full picture and despite their qualifications, doctors are not mind readers. Doctors can only act based on what you tell them. If you went to the doctor after suffering from a broken leg and the pain was unbearable, and you tell them the pain is only mild then the doctor will not give you the appropriate analgesia because you told them your pain was mild. The same applies with depression.
Depression Links and Resources
Here a few links and resources that you may find useful and helpful. If you come across any others that are not here and you think it will be beneficial to other members, then please post them in this thread and we will add them into this post.
Depression Self Help
Get Help on the Forum and in Chat – Share Your Experiences!
Please use the forum and chat to other members about your experiences with depression. It helps to talk to people who have experienced depression who will understand what you are going through. Sharing experiences, hints and tips are useful to other members, and be sure to post if are you are looking for support, help and advice.