One in five people become depressed at some point in their lives. There are many types of depression and many reasons people feel depressed.
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months.
Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”.
Depression is a mood disorder characterised by low mood and a wide range of other possible symptoms, which will vary from person to person. It can develop quickly or gradually, and be brought on by life events and/or changes in body chemistry. It can strike anyone, and is curable in very many cases.
The symptoms of depression are:
- Numbness, lethargy and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.
- Wanting to hide away from people, perhaps even by staying in bed.
- Constant tiredness and problems sleeping.
- Lack of interest in sex
- Loss of appetite or overrating to try and find comfort
- Stress and frustration.
- Irritability and aggression.
- Feeling that you cannot cope.
- Inability to see a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.
- Suicidal thoughts.
How can counselling help?
When you are depressed, things can seem hopeless and out of your control, but with the right help, it can be possible to turn things around. For many people with depression, the worst part is that they fell they are the only ones in the world to feel this way. Understanding the root cause of your depression is the start point, followed by what’s triggering it and what’s keeping you stuck in depression.
Counselling/CBT can help you understand your own expectations which might be unrealistic or difficult to maintain. It can also provide you with strategies to help both alleviate and prevent depressive symptoms from recurring in future and show you steps to help find alternative ways of dealing with life’s challenges.
Further reading and self-help for depression
‘Overcome Depression and End Your Suffering Now’ – An In-Depth Guide for Overcoming Depression, Increasing Self-Esteem, and Getting Your Life Back On Track – by Beau Norton
‘Overcoming Depression’ A Self Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques’ by Paul Gilbert Tyrell (2000)
‘Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing How You Think’ by Dennis Greenberger & Christine Padesky (1998)