Without doubt, this is one of the biggest challenges facing both adults and children today. Everyone have different levels of resistance, yet most of us are susceptible to it, if enough negative experiences stackup against us.
Emotions such as grief, guilt, stress, worry or unhappiness can trigger depression, especially if experienced over a long period of time. These emotions may be triggered or contributed to by ill health, pregnancy, PMS, menopause, aging, loss of job, divorce, parenting, managing a home, single parenting, children, conflict, burnout, recreational drugs, alcohol … and the list goes on.
Anxiety can often be the first step in this downward spiral, where you feel generally unsettled, but can’t put your finger on it. Often we will fill up our lives with action, keeping busy to allay these feelings. Moving house or country, having children, throwing ourselves into a job, spending money, having an affair … all can be symptomatic of anxiety, without us having any real awareness.
Anxiety can then lead to tension, making you quite touchy about things that shouldn’t really matter. You may respond inappropriately when someone offers advice or criticism. It may also be seen in an unreasonable level of anger directed inwards, perhaps following a minor mistake, such as scratching the car or breaking something around the house.
At the same time you start to feel flat and non-responsive, and worry about things that you would normally be able to deal with. Small concerns take on monumental proportions, yet you can’t communicate this worry as nobody else understands how ‘bad’ things are.
Conflict in a relationship can also trigger depression, especially if it seems impossible to understand where the other person is coming from. Often the other partner is experiencing other challenges, which then results in a cycle of conflict being initiated, from which there seems no resolution.
Depression can effect all areas of your life, but in particular your communication with others. As you feel sadder and darker, all you want to do is talk about this unhappiness. Your brain prevents you from looking at anything from a positive perspective, and you start to shut down and withdraw from everyday events.
The worse thing that you can hear is people telling you to look on the bright side, or that you have great things to look forward to, that life isn’t that bad, and that there are many worse off than you. Although for anyone who is feeling ok this requires just a simple shift in thinking – the brain absolutely prevents someone with depression from being able to do this.
There is life after depression, but you must be willing to work at it, and be willing to accept there is no quick remedy. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of depression firstly take the Anxiety/Depression Self Test. Acknowledgement is the first step to recover.
Then, depending on the severity, firstly ensure you talk to your GP, as well as letting people close to you know. Your GP may refer you to someone who will perscribe an anti-depressant – if this be the case, be open to this suggestion. By all means do your own research, but DO NOT dismiss outright.
There are many other things that can also assist in recovery … diet, exercise, change of job, involvement in a hobby, joining a club, taking on charity work, reading self help books, or just mixing with other people. There is no one solution, and what works for one may not suit the next, so it is important not to give up when all seems bleak.
And remember – you will recover, but don’t try and go it alone.
If you think you have depression fill out the Rating Scale under Self Help