While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.
We don’t know exactly what causes depression, however a number of things are often linked to its development. Depression usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event.
Research suggests that continuing difficulties like unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness, prolonged work stress– are more likely to cause depression than recent life stresses. However, recent events (such as losing your job) or a combination of events can ‘trigger' depression if you’re already at risk because of previous negative experiences .
Therapeutic treatments (also known as talking therapies) can help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills so you're better equipped to deal with life's stresses and conflicts. As well as supporting your recovery, counselling can also help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
There are several types of effective psychological treatments for depression as well as different delivery options. Some people prefer to work one on one with a professional, while others get more out of a group environment. A growing number of online programmes, or e-therapies, are also available.
You may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you've felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.
It’s important to remember that we all experience some of these symptoms from time to time, and it may not necessarily mean you're depressed. Equally, not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.
Anxiety is more than just feeling stressed or worried. While stress and anxious feelings are a common response to a situation where we feel under pressure, they usually pass once the stressful situation has passed, or ‘stressor’ is removed. Anxiety is when these anxious feelings don't go away – when they're ongoing and happen without any particular reason or cause. It’s a serious condition that makes it hard to cope with daily life. For someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings aren't easily controlled.
On average, one in four people – one in three women and one in ﬁve men – will experience anxiety at some stage in their life. Anxiety is common, but the sooner you get support, the more likely you will recover.
Staying well is about finding a balance that works for you, but there are some general principles that most people find useful. These include reducing and managing your stress levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, reducing or eliminating alcohol and drugs, and taking action early if you start experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. It's also important to deal with any setbacks and keep trying.
Family and friends can play an important role by providing practical and emotional support such as being there to listen. Listening is very powerful. Would you like to enlist Andrew as a professional counsellor to aid your journey?
Others don't get me
..... actually - if I don't start today - that's another day wasted of my life.