Depression: Not the same as being depressed
What is being depressed?
Feeling depressed is a normal part of life and happens to everyone. Now and then, everyone will experience temporary and transitory feelings of sadness. Some days we are not sure why and other days we know it is a normal response to what is happening around us. Triggers can include when we are hungry, have not had enough sleep, are stressed, waiting for school/test results, being hungover and/or have heard something upsetting.
This is not depression.
So, what is depression?
Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder as it is officially called, is a clinically diagnosable mental illness. While individuals with depression do experience feelings of sadness, they also experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, irritability, and numbness. Having depression is often described as “a battle” and “feels like you are constantly drowning”. It is all consuming and debilitating as it impacts many areas of an individual’s life. These impacts include changes to appetite, sleep, energy levels, memory, and concentration, as well as the ability to maintain healthy relationships, employment, education, and physical well-being. Depression affects how an individual thinks, feels and acts.
Depression is not something that one can ‘snap out of’ or overcome through willpower. It is a serious illness with a complex interaction of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Just as you would seek medical attention for a physical pain/disorder, seeking professional help for depression is essential to recovery and management, and there are many supports and options available.
It is important to remember that depression does not discriminate. Anyone can be diagnosed with depression and while there are a range of factors that can influence the onset of depression, the root cause is largely unknown. The presentation can be very different from person to person. Some people may not look like they have depression but just because you cannot see it, does not mean it is not there. If a friend or family member comes to you with concerns that they may have depression, try to refrain from using statements such as “but you don’t look depressed” or “what do you have to feel depressed about?”. Even if you believe they do not appear to be battling with depression, it is important to acknowledge their concern and remind them that help is available.
Depression is complex, serious, and would benefit from a formal diagnosis. Seeking professional help is important for effective management. There is no shame in asking for help and no reason anyone should battle this alone.
What can be done about Depression?
If you are currently struggling with depression, you can do these 5 things:
- Create space to accept your struggles with depression, they are real and okay.
- Read up about depression, what it is, how it looks and other people’s experiences with it. Stop at any time if you’re feeling overwhelmed or your symptoms worsen.
- Start to think about a plan to ask for help.
- Talk to someone about it. This can be a close family member, friend or counsellor.
- Seek professional help – We are currently taking new clients, click here for more information or to book online.
If you know someone who is currently struggling with depression, you can do these 4 things:
- Create space for their struggles, what they are experiencing is debilitating and real.
- Read up about depression, what it is, how it looks and other people’s experiences with it.
- Ask to speak to them about depression, and respect their no if that’s their answer.
- Ask them to seek professional help regarding their circumstances and struggles – We are currently taking new clients, click here for more information or to book online.
By: Ashley Dell'Oro