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Depression - How to Recognise the Signs and Overcome it

What is is?

Sadly, research shows that depression affects approximately 300,000,000 people throughout the world today and has afflicted humans for as long as we can remember.

The Greek doctor Hippocrates called it ‘melancholia’ and it does not matter what kind of status a person holds, it can affect anyone at anytime.  Even animals are known to suffer depression.

Some famous people who have suffered depression, are Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Fry, to name just a few.

Depression can creep up very slowly, over a period of time, without you realising it.  It can also be a by-product of other conditions, or of occurrences in peoples’ lives, such as bereavement or loss, divorce or separation, being given news of a terminal illness or the by-product of an illness, such as Fibromyalgia, ME or MS. 

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), is recognised as a result of a lack of light, and many people suffer with SAD when the Summer ends and the onset of Autumn begins.  This can last right through to the following Spring, so for sufferers, it can become very debilitating.

So, how do you recognise Depression?

Most of us suffer low mood at varying times in our lives, but Depression can occur for various reasons, such as:-

What are the signs of depression?

How do you overcome depression?

First of all, some people are more prone to depression than others.  Why?  Because if, during your childhood, you have witnessed a parent or a grandparent suffering from depression, then there is a higher likelihood you could also suffer the same.

In order to overcome depression, it is very important you talk to someone about it.  Contact your GP and arrange an appointment or talk to your Pastor/local Vicar or seek the help of a counsellor.  Unfortunately some people avoid visiting their GP for fear he/she will prescribe anti-depressants, but this is not always the case.

If you feel you cannot approach any of the people mentioned above, why not talk to someone you can trust such as a family member, friend or neighbour?  Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed.  We are all fallible human beings, and just because you are suffering depression does not make you insane or mad, even though you may feel like you are going insane, at times.

Generally, depression does pass within 6 months, but if you do not do anything about it, if you refuse to face up to it and repress your feelings rather than talk openly about them, then the depression will get worse, or will keep recurring.

Too often a person will start to self medicate when they are feeling really low.  Alcohol intake is increased, particularly in the evening before bedtime.  Drug use can also be initiated and neither of these substances will help, they only serve to make matters worse.  Further consequences of this lead to feelings of helplessness, lack of self worth, increased loneliness and eventually thoughts of suicide.  To avoid this happening there are other things you can do, such as:-

Stop ruminating – chewing over ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) and thinking too much about what you think you lack in your life, can hinder your ability to be happy. Instead focus on what you have in your life that you are grateful for.

Keep busy – whether you continue going to work, or find jobs to do around the home.  Keeping busy will help take your mind of the ANTS that you choose to feed every single day, when you are feeling down.

Do what you enjoy? – whether it be a favourite hobby or spending time with family and friends.  You might want to consider taking up a new hobby or joining a class?

Exercise Regularly – have fun, take up a new dance class, or join a walking club.  Getting outdoors in the fresh air will do you a world of good, rather than sitting around in the house.  If you cannot be bothered to exercise, why not get an exercise buddy?  Someone, who will exercise with you and encourage you to exercise on a regular basis?   Tai Chi and Yoga are excellent for mind, body, spirit.

Get plenty of sleep – Having 8 hours sleep nightly is imperative to feeling better.  However, if you are suffering a disturbed sleep pattern or having difficulty staying asleep, then playing some soft gentle music, doing relaxation therapy or meditation before sleep will help.

Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings – which will help monitor your mood swings and help you assess what triggers your feelings of loneliness and despair.  Also de-cluttering your mind for 15 minutes every day helps.  How do you do this?  Try sitting in a chair, being still, listening to the sound of your breathing, without any background noise.  Any thoughts that enter your mind, see them like clouds in a windy sky – allow them to pass by without reacting to them.

Eat healthily and regular meals – maintaining a healthy diet is imperative to good health.  Enjoying meals with friends and family also lifts your mood, and encourages you to cook more interesting meals.

Drink Alcohol moderately – drinking too much alcohol will enhance depression rather than alleviate it, so try not to drink too much, particularly during the day or late at night.  It may help you to sleep, but you will not feel any better in the morning.

If you think you are suffering with Depression, then outlined below are some numbers which you can call, if you wish to seek further help:-

Contact me for counselling services: 07886 198 293      

Samaritans: 08457 90  90  90

The following websites may also help:

Finally, get the support you need and take good care of yourself.

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