Depression - Help yourself to get better
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Clare Norris RMBACP MA PGDIp BA
21st January, 20130 Comments
Sometimes in life we can feel down, low, tired and agitated, we begin to feel hopeless and start to neglect ourselves, losing interest in the things we used to enjoy.
Usually when we're feeling low because of worry or stress we can usually bring ourselves out of it and deal with our challenging situations and emotions and we begin to feel better.
Sometimes these low feelings don't go away though and we begin to feel like giving up. The negative self talk inside our heads becomes ever more critical and hopeless and we feel progressively worse and worthless. We tend not to tell anyone how we feel because we tell ourselves they wouldn't understand and we don't want to worry our loved ones.
So what is depression and is it what you're experiencing?
Doctors recognise depression as a very real illness showing up in physical and psychological symptoms which in turn creates health, social and financial problems for individuals who are suffering from it.
Depression doesn't discriminate either it can affect anyone young and old, male and female. As symptoms of depression are very complex and they vary from person to person. How do you know if you're suffering from it? Depression occurs gradually over time and can it can be difficult for you to realise that something is wrong.
Have you been feeling any of the following symptoms? If you have call your doctor or local counsellor for help.
Difficulty in sleeping
Lack of appetite
Lack of energy
Unexplained aches and pains
Slower movements or speech
Persistent sadness or low mood
Feeling irritable towards those who are close to you
Feeling worried, anxious or tearful
Low self esteem
Making decisions is difficult
Feeling hopeless or helpless
Loss of interest or motivation for things you used to enjoy
Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
Depression can affect your performance at work, you begin to neglect or avoid your hobbies and interests. These symptoms can have a negative impact on your well being and usually affect your relationship with your partner, family or friends.
Doctors advise depression has 3 levels of severity:
Mild depression which has a mild impact on your life
Moderate depression which has a significant impact on your life
Severe depression which has a debilitating impact on your life.
It's vital for you to see your doctor if you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms. Blood and urine tests can be taken by your doctor to rule out any other potential conditions with similar symptoms to depression and your doctor will be able to talk with you about possible treatments such as counselling and/or antidepressants.
What can you do today to help yourself?
Check out your diet and exercise - Healthy eating is great for your mental well being, cut down on your alcohol intake and if you smoke try to seek out options to help you quit. Eat plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit, proteins such as fish, chicken and red meat and drink plenty of water.
Release those endorphins by taking up regular exercise which can be as effective as antidepressants at reducing depression, lifting your mood and reducing stress, whilst improving your well being and self esteem. Something as simple as going out for a walk in the fresh air will lift your spirits and it is a small step to doing something for yourself to feel that little bit better.
Chat to someone, ideally a counsellor who works with depression - Talking therapies such as psychotherapy and counselling can really help you manage or even beat depression. Talking to someone who will confidentially listen emphatically, whilst not judging you and telling you to 'pick yourself' up will help you immensely. A counsellor will also help you explore, identify and understand what is underlying your depression and work on treatments and interventions to help you get better.
The key point to remember is that you are not on your own, many people are experiencing what you are going through right now and seeing your doctor or contacting a counsellor today will put you on your path to feeling better again.
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