Fed Up? Unhappy? or is it more?

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Fed Up? Unhappy? or is it more?

Maria Lonergan – Walton-on-Thames

There is currently a lot of coverage on the news and in documentaries about mental health. The BBC have recently begun a season of programming  entitled ‘In The Mind’ exploring mental health issues and gaining insight and understanding on what is really happening with mental health.

One commonly known mental health issue is depression. The word depression is often used when people are feeling unhappy or fed up, but what does it really mean and are you really depressed or just feeling low.

Client’s sometimes come and see me with symptoms of depression, however it can transpire that other factors may be causing similar symptoms associated with this condition.

A lack of vitamin D, thyroid issues and, in women, changes in hormone levels, can have identical symptoms such as anxiety, change in sleep pattern, insomnia, joint ache, lethargy, etc. Some prescribed medication can also cause feelings of anxiety.

So, how can you tell whether you are experiencing depression? Depression affects people in different ways, however one commonality is the feeling of sadness, hopelessness and losing interest in things you once enjoyed for a number of weeks or months rather than just a few days.

There are also psychological, physical and social symptoms associated with depression. Psychological symptoms include continuous low mood, low self-esteem, tearfulness, irritability, no motivation, can’t make decisions, not enjoying life, feeling anxious and worried and, occasionally suicidal thoughts.

Some of the physical symptoms can include a change in appetite, low energy, lack of interest in sex and disturbed sleep.

Socially you may find yourself withdrawing from your friends and family and choosing to spend more time alone. Socialising becomes hard work and suddenly staying in bed or watching TV seems more appealing. Work can become affected and hobbies and interests decline.

When experiencing depression, it can be friends and family that notice it before you even realize you are in it. They may begin to comment on the fact they haven’t seen that much of you or notice that you don’t seem as concerned about your appearance as you once were.

Therapy and your GP

If you are worried you may be depressed, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your GP.  They can then recommend the best way forward for you.

Talking therapy is extremely helpful in enabling you to explore and understand how and why you may be feeling the way you do and offer you some guidance on how to support yourself.

Exercise is a powerful tool in combatting depression. Even a brisk walk outside can help change your mood. There is a lot of evidence to support it’s benefits both physically and emotionally.

When feeling depressed, negative thinking takes over and it is important to challenge these thoughts with more positive ones. Keep a list of things that help you feel good so that you can easily access them on those ‘down days’.

It can also be easy to neglect your dietary needs, make sure you do not skip meals however much you do not feel like eating. A lack of food and water can greatly impair how you think and feel.

Also, depression can feel extremely isolating but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing a friend or family member you feel you can talk to can be of real benefit to you.

Lastly, depression is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Statistically, it can affect one in ten of us at some point in our lives. The more we talk and understand about it, the better equipped we can be to support those that are experiencing it.

Maria Lonergan
www.ml-counselling.co.uk/

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