Depression - what is it really?

Depression is a form of psychological tension and many of us will experience this low mood, confusion and unhappiness at sometime in our life. Depression can be very hard to live with, for both the sufferer and the people around the sufferer.

Sometimes it can be related to an obvious experience, but often it can come at unexpected times… out of nowhere, it creeps up on people and sometimes it hits them completely unexpectedly.

The physical and behavioural signs

Depression is very difficult to define because it is usually different for each individual person. Initially many people get their depression mixed up with physical symptoms because as people fall into a trough of depression they may experience physical signs:

  • Moving slower than usual 
  • Stubborn headaches
  • Waking up early
  • Finding it very difficult to get out of bed
  • Hesitant speech
  • Loss of libido
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Stomach pains and upsets

Behaviour often changes as well and depressed people might:

  • Abandon hobbies and avoid social activities
  • Snap at family and lose interest in friends
  • Eat too much or eat too little
  • Drink too much or self medicate with non-prescribed drugs
  • Some make mistakes at work or even miss work altogether

Why people may deny having depression

People often avoid admitting to themselves and to others that they might be struggling with an emotional issue like depression. It frequently feels like the slippery slope towards an inescapable doom laden future and many become genuinely frightened.

Some deny being depressed because they may fear the stigma and they worry about the regard, respect and affection they may lose from others.

The symptoms of depression present in many, many different ways… incidentally this is a long list:

  • Low mood
  • Sadness
  • Little interest in anything… even favourite pastimes
  • Hopelessness
  • Worthlessness
  • Intolerance of others 
  • Increased anxiety 
  • Indecisiveness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling constantly weepy and upset
  • Reduced concentration 
  • Sinking cognitive ability 
  • Irritability and anger
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor memory
  • Inappropriate guilt
  • No motivation and apathy

Some get so low they consider death or suicide.

Depression often fluctuates with regard to severity and each person reacts slightly differently. Sometimes this depression has a relatively limited impact on daily life, but can last a lifetime. Some depression comes and goes over differing timescales and with more severe depression the symptoms are all more noticeable.

The sufferer’s normal life changes… for the worse.

What treatment can help?

Many of my clients come via their GP and medication may be an appropriate consideration, depending upon the individual circumstances. My opinion is that most people, should ideally, not become reliant exclusively on drugs and usually, for a long-term recovery, talking therapy is essential.

You might not think it when you are deep in depression… that hollow dark hopeless place, but most forms of depression can be reduced and even removed from most people’s lives. My life was better after my ten years of depression than it was before my depression. I realised that before, I was ‘being’ a person that made me ill. Now I’m closer to the real me, I am never low… honestly.

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