Depression can occur for a variety of reasons and can range from mild to severe. It may be caused by a specific event such as a bereavement, a loss of a relationship, a divorce, illness, career worries or a redundancy. Some people may find a combination of factors lead them into a downward spiral and they find themselves in a depression and cannot see or find a way out of it.
Who Becomes Depressed?
Depression can affect anyone in the right circumstances. It may especially affect those with low self-esteem and confidence and those with a strong ‘inner critic’ (this can come from early life experiences). It can often be prevalent in families.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression has lots of different symptoms in thoughts, feelings and behaviours and it can have serious physical effects on the body.
Depression in Thought and Mood
Symptoms can include low mood, a loss of interest or enjoyment in most activities, feelings of guilt, helplessness, worthlessness and an inability to think clearly or to concentrate. People may find it difficult to make decisions, have no motivation or interest in life, feel irritable and intolerant of others or be tearful.
Depression in Relationships
Depression can cause people to want to isolate themselves and not want to talk to others. This can result in damage to personal relationships and feelings of being very alone.
Depression in the Body
Physical symptoms of depression can include lack of energy, moving and speaking more slowly, changes in appetite (eating less or eating more), aches and pains and sleep disturbances like insomnia or difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. It can also cause heart palpitations and digestive issues. The stress chemicals involved in depression can suppress the immune system which makes it easier to become ill.
Depression can cause people with addictions to increase their use as a way to cope with how they are feeling. This can lead to serious health consequences and can lead to a downward spiral into feeling worse and falling deeper into addiction.
At its worst depression can lead some people to feeling that there is no way out of the pain they are feeling and this can lead to thoughts of suicide or even attempts to commit suicide. There are around 6,000 suicides a year in Britain, primarily among men.
Being able to talk through your issues can help you to come to terms with what is happening in your life and work through the difficult feelings.
Talking about issues which have been stuck inside us for a long time can be cathartic.
Counselling can help us to find ourselves, to feel lighter emotionally and to make changes in our lives for the better.