“It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because its not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling – that really hollowed out feeling” -J.K. Rowling
Depression is much more than just a low mood or sadness, it is a devastating illness that can make you feel hopeless, worthless and exhausted. We can believe we are losing control of our lives, because we can’t control what we think and that is a frightening thing to believe about ourselves.
Unfortunately, we don’t always recognise the symptoms of depression and so don’t get the help or support we need. So below is the mental health professional’s official diagnosis criterion, in which is laid out a set of nine core diagnostic symptoms. Acknowledging for yourself that you might have depression is the first step in accepting you need help.
1. Depressed Mood
2. Loss of interest or pleasure in all (or nearly all) activities
3. A large increase or decrease in appetite/weight
4. Insomnia or hypersommia (greatly increased sleep)
5. Slowing of physical movements, or severe agitation
6. Intense fatigue
7. Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
8. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
9. Frequent thoughts of death, or suicidal thoughts
Depression can range from feeling low most of the time (mild depression) to feeling that life is no longer worth living (clinical depression). If you consider you might have five or more of these core symptoms present nearly everyday for at least two weeks, it is important you speak to a Doctor for a medical diagnosis. A Doctor may then offer you an anti- depressant medication, to help alleviate these symptoms in the short-term.
“Depression is not a sign of weakness, it means you have been strong for far too long” -Michael Fox
The World Health Organisation recognises that depression is one of the most disabling disorders there is, and it is surprisingly common. Depression affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men at least once during their lifetime. The causes of depression can be many; and can be triggered from experiencing traumatic or emotionally painful events, particularly if those were experienced during your childhood. Emotional triggers could also include any ongoing stressful situation, such as losing a loved one, getting fired from work, going through a breakdown of a relationship, a divorce, coping with a medical condition or bullying.
“If my eyes could show my Soul, everyone would cry when they saw me smile” -Kurt Cobain
As individuals we tend to keep our depression locked away on the inside because that is the safest place to be. Depression can create a sense of shame or guilt that can cause a mix of thoughts and emotions such as, “I am a worthless person”, “I am a failure and deserve nothing good”, “I am weak and pathetic”, and “No-one can help me”. But this is the voice of the depression and it is not the truth.
Depression can take many different forms and presents very differently from one person to another, as the problem results from painful emotional experiences that the brain was unable to process, at that time. There is a good chance that your depression is caused by a single event, however most depressed people have several past events and experiences that have become tangled up with each other.
”As you identify the pain of the past, you will notice that those are the same feelings and thoughts that trouble you today” -Michael Fox
Counselling can facilitate the healing process of depression, as it allows you the time and more importantly a safe space to begin to explore the events or experiences that are responsible for causing the emotional pain. By talking and reflecting on the things that trouble us is crucial for our mental health and well-being. It also raises our awareness and understanding of the problems affecting us and what needs to be done to heal.
If you are ready to take that step and address those feelings of depression or simply need to talk about something, as a Counsellor I can help you.
I would help you to talk and think about those experiences that need to be talked about in a supportive and confidential environment.
I would help you to develop your own skills and the tools you need to help you see things more clearly and find healthier perspectives, which can ultimately put you in a better place to achieve a greater level of happiness and feeling of well-being.
“Without the darkness we would never see the Stars” -Unknown
If you are experiencing depression things can change for the better and I would be able to help you. However, in an real emergency you can call the Samaritans on 116 123