Whether you are a teenager or the CEO of a successful firm, depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It only means that you have been, or you are still, going through a difficult situation which has created an emotional block. You can heal naturally, either on your own or with some help, by releasing the suppressed harmful emotions.
Not everyone experiences depression in the same way. I had a depressed client who used to be constantly sad. For others, it lasted a few months and just when they thought that they had shaken it off, it would unexpectedly come back even stronger than before. It could be they had genuinely got better but because they were still in a vulnerable place, it came back.
One in five people can become depressed at some point in their life. Depression is a prevalent mental health problem in the UK and statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that as many as 10 % of the population suffer from mixed anxiety and depression problems. In some cases, the signs are clear and it is easy to tell if a person is depressed, but this is not always the case.
What are the common signs of depression?
We all experience sadness and there are several levels to it. It might last for days or weeks. It could be due to a broken relationship, financial issues, health problems or bereavement. These are just a few examples. We cannot pinpoint when sadness turns into depression. It is a gradual process.
Depression is an upsetting word and most people refuse to accept that it could be them. Some people who are still at an early stage of depression are able reach out for help before it gets too late. The world would be a happier place if everyone could do so, but it is not easy. Denial of being depressed can make someone drown deeper in despair. Some of the most noticeable signs of depression are:
- Feeling exhausted, sleepless or agitated.
- Difficulty in communicating and concentrating.
- Constant sadness and feeling tearful for no apparent reason.
- Loss of appetite and loss of sex drive.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs.
- In extreme cases, thoughts of self-harm or suicide start to manifest.
Smiling Depression – Suffering in Silence
I think that smiling depression is the worst. It is well hidden behind a beautiful fake smile which makes it harder, if not impossible, to notice. At times, the smile is here but the eyes are sad. Smiling depressed individuals find it hard to confide even in a friend. Some of them break down the moment they are alone. I know someone who was unhappy with his job but he would go to the office pretending that everything was fine. However, when he reached home, he would draw the curtains, sit on the floor and cry. This carried on for weeks before his family noticed and sought counselling help.
Could you be depressed?
If you think that you might be depressed, know that there are many ways to help you find happiness again. You have taken a brave step already by recognising it. Well done! Simple things like talking can make a whole lot of difference. Talking is the best form of release. Going for a walk in nature and exercising will help. You can watch a comedy or read a funny book. Eating well is also essential. How about writing down how you feel? It is a good way to let go of unspoken worries.
Our natural antidepressants
Our brain is a pharmacy that holds resources to cure any form of disease. Studies on depression have shown that the brain produces natural antidepressants. The placebo effect has contributed to this phenomenal change. Patients were given fake drugs and told that these were antidepressants. Brain scans have shown that these affected their brain in the same way as the real antidepressants would have. The patients thought they were taking a substance that would make them feel better and this belief made them truly feel better. The cure is within us and it is up to us to tap into it.
Ask for help
From experience I can honestly tell you that once you reach out for help, happiness finds its way back to you. It doesn’t hurt to ask for help. There are many forms of counselling and support groups out there. All you have to do is pick up the phone. Here are some links that I hope you will find helpful.
The Samaritans http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you
Depression UK Organisation http://www.depressionuk.org
Friends in Need http://friendsinneed.co.uk
Being happy again
There is always hope no matter how desperate one might feel. I still remember how lonely and depressed I felt a few years ago, although I had a loving boyfriend and caring friends around. Back then, I would look at the calendar and it felt like the days were dragging. Today, my life is buzzing with a busy social life, a happy married life and so many things to do that I wonder where time is flying! Stay positive and trust that you can be happy again.