What you should know – and do – about depression

WE ALL HAVE DAYS WHEN WE HAVE THE BLUES – ARE IN A BAD MOOD, SAD OR ANGRY.
And sometimes, this can last for a few days or even weeks. But, then, if you start feeling better – this isn’t depression.

What depression is – is a common mood disorder that affects all ages, genders, and ethnic groups. It’s an unwanted visitor and can upset everything in your life: work, relationships, family, mental and physical health. Sometimes you see it coming – sometimes you don’t. In any case, depression isn’t welcome – and won’t go away on its own. That’s why you need to take control from the start if you think you are in depression. Before you can do this, you need to know more about this invader.

What you should know - and do - about depression
How do you know you are in a depression?

A change in your feelings and mental state are the first signs. Not feeling “yourself” for a few weeks. While we all have feelings of sadness and anxiety from time to time, they usually go away in a few weeks. This is called being in a low mood. It’s vital to sort out the differences between being in a low mood and in depression.

 

Low mood

Symptoms last for up to two weeks

Depression

Symptoms last for longer than two weeks

Depression is a complex set of negative feelings. It’s never the same between two people – and there are different kinds of depression. Some people are very sad and cry a lot. Others have much stronger and destructive feelings of anger, aggressiveness, and even self-injury or suicidal thoughts. If these feelings last for over two weeks and affect your life, you are probably at the beginning of depression. 

What can cause depression?

We are all different in the way we react emotionally to what life sends our way. But in general, major changes to our living situation can spark depression. 

Also, depression can run in families. If you have a family member who has had depression, this could make you more vulnerable to depression.

Life events that can cause depression

Not everyone who experiences these major life events develops depression. It’s normal to be very sad after losing a loved one – even after two weeks. So, how do you know that you are experiencing depression?

How is depression diagnosed?

The main diagnostic tool for depression is a thorough, three-part discussion between the patient and the healthcare provider. These questions are about:

  • the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour patterns
  • how the symptoms impact the patient’s lifestyle, work, and relationships
  • medical conditions
  • problems with substance abuse

The healthcare provider could then take blood and lab tests to rule out other underlying medical conditions.

If you are diagnosed with depression, it’s time to take care of yourself. Get professional help and engage in self-care.

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How to cope with depression?

Once you have been diagnosed with depression, there are ways to take charge of your life. Taking little steps to help yourself feel better will put you on the road to a quicker recovery.

Keep in touch with friends and family

Try to keep in touch with friends and family – people who care about you and your wellbeing.  Talking with people you feel safe with can contribute to the recovery.

Take care of your body.

A nutritious diet gives your body what it needs to function optimally – and feel good. And physical activity is an essential part of self-care. If you don’t like to exercise, walking in nature or even walking to the store or taking the stairs has proven benefits for the body and mind.

Face your fears

Face your fears, objectively. If you are in a depression, hiding from your fears will only delay recovery. Talking about this with someone you trust can help put things into perspective.

Avoid harming your body by taking alcohol or drugs.
Keep a routine

Having a schedule gives you less time to dwell on problems and more time to get work done. Great for self-esteem.

Get Help

Finally, if you feel overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to turn to, call on a professional coach.

Depression doesn’t just go away.

Get in touch with a mynd coach – the first call is free.

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