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What Is Depression?

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Depression is very common, one in six women and one in eight men will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops you doing your normal activities that persists longer than two weeks. It is placed on a continuum with several different types of depression ranging from fairly mild to sever in some cases. Generally speaking, it is not caused from a single event rather than a mixture of factors ranging from circumstantial to genetic and biological. Lifestyle factors such as drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression.



Depression has been described as getting bogged in the mud. When you are finished swearing and kicking the ute you know that you are going to need to ask for help to get out of the hole. The more bogged you are, the heavier the artillery needed to get the vehicle out. If you keep trying to get yourself out by revving the engine - you only dig yourself further into the mud. There is noting weak about reaching out for support, one of the strongest things we can do is open up and be vulnerable with another person.

 

Signs & Symptoms of Depression


Behaviour
  • Not going out anymore

  • Not getting things done at work/school

  • Withdrawing from close family and friends

  • Relying on alcohol and sedatives

  • Not doing usual enjoyable activities

Thoughts
  • 'I’m a failure.'

  • 'It’s my fault.'

  • 'Nothing good ever happens to me.'

  • 'I’m worthless.'

  • 'Life’s not worth living.'

  • 'People would be better off without me.'

Feelings
  • Overwhelmed

  • Guilty / Disappointed

  • Irritable

  • Hopeless

  • Lacking in confidence

  • Unhappy/ Sad

  • Indecisive

Physical
  • Tired all the time

  • Sick and run down

  • Headaches and muscle pains

  • Churning gut

  • Sleep problems

  • Loss or change of appetite

  • Significant weight loss or gain

 

What are the treatment options?

Everyone is unique with what treatments work for them so treatment needs to be tailored to your condition, circumstances, needs and preferences. Most people with anxiety or depression benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • Lifestyle changes such as reduced alcohol consumption, dietary changes, exercise, sleep hygiene and mood monitoring

  • E-mental health programs

  • Mindfulness and meditation practices

  • Engaging with social support networks around you

  • Talking therapies (psychology or counselling)

  • Medical therapies recommended by your doctor

The first point of call for the treatment of depression is usually your doctor or another health care professional, or you can book in to see a counsellor or mental health worker and they will be able to advise you on the treatment options that are right for you.


Often when people feel depressed engaging in treatment and taking that first step can feel almost impossible let alone maintaining the steps involved in recovery. It is important to remember that depression and anxiety are treatable and effective treatments are available. The earlier you seek support, the better.

One of the symptoms of depression is a sense of helplessness and not feeling control of our own life. Sometimes when we feel like we have no control our solution is to try and help others in their life. This can lead to us doing too much for others at the expense of how we are feeling depleting us further down the sink hole of depression. Setting boundaries and learning to say no to others supports us to to have more vitality in our own lives. As the saying goes, we need to put our own oxygen mask on first before helping those around us, otherwise we are going to suffocate before we are even able to offer support.


It seems counterintuitive, but the more we look after ourselves physically and mentally, the more capacity we have to care for others. So if we practice setting boundaries, self-care, and supporting our own needs first, the quality of care that we then offer others is of a much higher standard. Not only are we able to care more, but we also set a good example for that person to take responsibility and care for themselves. We can take control over the way we care for ourselves and when we make that choice we are challenging the thoughts that we are hopeless, unlovable, worthless, etc. Just choosing one thing to do for yourself every day has a profound impact on our self-worth and whole wellbeing.


Check out out resources page for some free crisis numbers that you can call if you require urgent support or if you are feeling suicidal. Alternatively, you can book in with one of our counsellors using the button below



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