Thursday, May 19, 2011

Depression




What is Depression
The word 'depression' is used to describe everyday feelings of low mood which can affect us all from time to time. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to experiences that are upsetting, stressful or difficult; those feelings will usually pass.

If you are affected by depression, you are not 'just' sad or upset. You have an illness which means that intense feeling of persistent sadness, helplessness and hopelessness are accompanied by physical effects such as sleeplessness, a loss of energy, or physical aches and pains.

Sometimes people may not realize how depressed they are, especially if they have been feeling the same for a long time, if they have been trying to cope with their depression by keeping themselves busy, or if their depressive symptoms are more physical than emotional.

Here is a list of the most common symptoms of depression. As a general rule, if you have experienced four or more of these symptoms, for most of the day nearly every day, for over two weeks, then you should seek help.
  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
  • Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping problems - difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sex drive and/ or sexual problems
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thinking about suicide and death
  • Self-harm

Eight ways you can help someone with depression
  • 1. Remember that they cannot help being affected by depression.
  • 2. Encourage them to talk and listen to what they are saying.
  • 3. Let them know that you care about them.
  • 4. Stay in contact with them. Send a card, give them a ring, visit them in their home. Remember that depression can be a very isolating experience.
  • 5. Help them to feel good about themselves by praising daily achievements.
  • 6. Encourage them to help themselves by adopting self-help techniques.
  • 7. Find out about support services available to them and to you (self-help groups, out of hours emergency support, helplines, etc). Put them in touch with Depression Alliance.
  • 8. Encourage them to visit their doctor, and ensure that they take any prescribed medication as directed.
Talking to someone who is depressed

DO SAY
  • 1. You're not alone in this.
  • 2. You are important to me.
  • 3. Do you want a hug?
  • 4. You are not going mad.
  • 5. We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
  • 6. When all this is over, I'll still be here, and so will you.
  • 7. I can't really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.
  • 8. I'm not going to leave you or abandon you.
  • 9. I love you (if you mean it).
  • 10. I'm sorry that you're in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don't need to worry that your pain might hurt me.

DON'T SAY
  • 1. There's always someone worse off than you are.
  • 2. No one ever said that life was fair.
  • 3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  • 4. So, you're depressed. Aren't you always?
  • 5. Try not to be so depressed.
  • 6. It's your own fault.
  • 7. I think your depression is a way of punishing us.
  • 8. Haven't you grown tired of all this me, me, me stuff yet?
  • 9. Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
  • 10. Have you tried chamomile tea?


Personal Experience
I managed to survive all the 'Don't Say' list from various people in my life. It is no wonder many depressed people end up rock bottom or no more when they have such people around them…but it's no one's fault….it's just ignorance, no awareness or knowledge on the subject, not knowing that they are doing more harm than help. Thank You to those who made it a point to understand the illness and handle it in the right way. 

Depression is NOT a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long. 1 in 5 of us will suffer at some point in our lives.



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