Everyone experiences sadness during their lives, and it is important to distinguish between this sadness and depression. Too many professionals are too quick to medicalise sadnesss and reactions to major life events such as redundancy, bereavement, marital breakdown etc. Nevertheless when you are finding it difficult to escape from this low mood and sad feeling after a period of time e.g. two or more weeks, it is best seek early intervention, then you may be experiencing depression. A good first port of call is your GP.
Depression is often a signal that certain thinking, feeling and physical aspects of a person’s life are out of balance, and so it is important to get help and talk to someone about how your feeling.
Depression affects people in different ways as symptoms can vary from person to person. People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
When someone is depressed they can feel a range of things including:
- A feeling of hopelessness: A depressed individual may have a bleak outlook where they feel nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing they can do to improve the situation.
- Loss of interest: losing interest in activities is very common among depressed people and it’s often the case where they can lose their ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- A lack of energy.
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns.
- Crying a lot or feeling agitated.
- High use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Losing their temper: Feeling agitated, restless, angry and irritable are often associated with depression.. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Withdrawing from the group
- Headaches or stomach aches
- Feeling empty
- Feeling anxious
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatments for depression
There are various options available to a person who is depressed, including therapy and medication, Exploring your options will help you decide what measures are most likely to work best for your particular situation and needs.
According to the UK – National Institute of Clinical Excellence Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for depression and the mindfulness has been shown to be very useful in prevention relapse back into depression. I use this approach among other as it has the best scientific basis and proven good outcomes. I cover the recommend an accompanying practical book such as “Mind Over Mood – Change the way you feel by changing the way you think – Padesky & Greenberger. “
Cognitive means our thought and behaviour mean our actions. The heart of this work looks at what keeps the depression going in the here and now. Many times our moods (sadness, fear, anger, irritable are keep going by a continuous negative thinking style. Its not just about thinking positively but targeting the negative thoughts with key questions. Tehse skills are learnt in the counselling.
Some types of therapy teach you practical techniques on how to reframe negative thinking and employ behavioural skills in combating depression. Therapy can also help you work through the root of your depression, helping you understand why you feel a certain way, what your triggers are for depression, and what you can do to stay healthy.
You counselling needs to be active dynamic and results orientated i.e. where you are working together with the tools necessary to manage and banish depression from your life.
In my clinic I often describe that “medications can act as a life jacket in the stormy seas of depression, psychology is trying to figure out how you fell out of the boat and provides the skills to get back in and stay in the boat”
Helping yourself on the road to recovery
- One of the most important things you can do for yourself is engage in some sort of exercise. Exercise has been identified as an extremely beneficial for mild to moderate depression.
- Talk to a friend or family member. It is so important for you to share your feelings with a friend or someone else you trust. Sometimes friends or family can offer new angles that help you figure things out. Just talking about it might help you see things more clearly for yourself
- Try and avoid being self –critical. Try your best to recognise your own accomplishments, however small.
With the right treatment and support, it IS possible to make a full recovery
Laois Based Dr Eddie Murphy, Clinical Psychologist from RTE ‘Operation Transformation’ will give an inspiring talk on Wed Sept 19th in Mountmellick Community Arts Centre @ 8.00pm – ‘Healthy Minds & Healthy Bodies – Tackling Anxiety & Depression and Becoming Your Real Self’. This is a free event, all are welcome. Family partners and friends are welcome too. This is a talk where no one will be asked any personal questions or to talk about their challenges / difficulties – Just sit back, relax listen and enjoy. For more info call 0871302899
Healthy Minds & Healthy Bodies – Fun Walk
Free Fun 4.3Km Walk at Saturday morning, the 22nd 11.00am, starting from the village entrance to Emo Court, registration at 10.30am, following the Slí na Slainte route.
Parking at the GAA/Community Centre grounds, EMO