Suffering with depression

Do you feel depressed?

Do you have negative feelings about yourself? Do you feel like you are in a fog?

If you answered yes to many of these questions, you may be experiencing a depressive episode. There are many forms of depression. Some people display consistently low or flat mood while others may not be able to enjoy once enjoyable aspects of life.

If you are depressed, keep in mind that you are not alone. Depression is an extremely common issue. Approximately 20 percent of the population may experience a depressive episode at least once in their life.

How common is depression?

It is not uncommon to have suffered for years from mild to moderate depression without it ever being diagnosed. Depression can also be a “numb” feeling rather than sadness. Depression may have resulted from a genetic disposition, childhood issues or family experiences.

At other times significant events such as separation and divorce, serious illness, losing our job, the loss of an important friendship, or the death of a loved one can trigger depression.

For some people, depression comes and goes, but for others it can feel like a constant state of flatness (with varying degrees of severity).

The way people experience depression is different for everyone. For example, depressed males may be more prone to express or experience anger and irritability. In children irritability is often a symptom along with a range of psychosomatic symptoms (such as tummy aches and headaches).

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

1. Persistent feelings of low mood and sadness.
2. A lack of interest in hobbies or once enjoyable activities.
3. Feelings of despair, hopelessness and worthlessness.
4. Feeling teary. Difficulty controlling emotions.
5. Anxiety or feelings of panic.
6. Irritability or anger.
7. Difficulty concentrating and focusing.
8. Memory lapses or indecisiveness.
9. Loss of motivation.
10. Fatigue and lack of energy.
11. Feeling as if life is not worth living.
12. Social withdrawal and isolation.
13. Loss or change of appetite.
14. Insomnia (inability to sleep).
15. Loss of libido

There are many signs that might indicate a person is suffering from depression and it can be hard to ask for help.

It is important to keep asking until you find the right people and resources to help you get better and equip you with strategies to identify and avoid triggers that may exacerbate depression.

Effective treatments are available and early identification and care can reduce harm and improve quality of life.

Written by: Dr Maxine Hawkins