Coping with depression
Depression is a real illness and it can happen to anyone regardless of his or her age, gender, class, race, sexuality or religion.
It can affect people in different ways and can cause various symptoms including: low moods, anxiety, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, tearfulness, restless, isolation and being unable to relate to others, finding no pleasure in things that you usually enjoy, low self-esteem, feeling hopeless, having memory difficulties or difficulties concentrating on things, sleeping differently or sleeping too much and feeling tired most of the time.
There are several things which can cause depression and it varies from person to person. Here are some common causes of depression:
- Childhood experiences such as; physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.
- Traumatic events.
- Relationship breakdown.
- Family problems.
- Drugs/alcohol abuse.
- Serious illness.
- Life changing events, including losing a job, starting a new job, having a baby, extreme pressure from studying.
- Social exclusion or anxiety.
- Being bullied.
These experiences can have a huge impact on one's emotional well-being and esteem.
Depression is often a low mood that lasts for a long time, which affects your everyday life. People experience depression in many ways including feeling:
- Down, upset or tearful.
- Restless, agitated or irritable.
- Guilty, worthless and down on yourself.
- Empty and numb.
- Isolated and unable to relate to other people.
- Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy, such as hobbies and interests.
- A sense of unreality.
- No self-confidence or self-esteem.
- Hopeless and despairing.
- Self-sabotaging behaviour.
Severe depression can be life threatening because you may feel that you're not good enough and your life is not worth living. As result of this, you could feel suicidal. Some people describe depression as being stuck, it's like being in a dark place, isolated with no interest in things that usually makes them happy, others describe it as feeling sad.
Self-care for depression
Visit your GP
It is advisable to always contact your GP for medical advice if you think that you are depressed.
Seek professional help
There are many trained counsellors that you can seek to give you the support you need. You don't have to go through the difficulties or challenges on your own. Talking about your problems can make a big difference.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping well can help to improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
Having a balanced and nutritious diet can help you feel well, think clearly, increase your mood and energy levels.
Keeping active helps increase your happy hormones, helps you to feel energised and helps you to sleep better.
Small things, like taking a shower/bath and getting fully dressed even if you are not going out of the house, can make a difference to how you feel.
Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol
Using drugs or alcohol to cope with any difficult emotions could make you feel worse and numb your emotions.
Avoid isolating yourself
Speak to family and friends that you trust about what you are going through and how you feel.
Keep a journal of your thoughts and feeling
Keeping a journal will help you to offload any negative emotions and enable you to be more self-reflective.
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About Kate Megase
I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.