What is depression?

We often use the expression ‘I feel depressed’ when we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings over time. But, if the feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you’re depressed in the medical sense .In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life, but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, major depression (clinical depression) can be life-threatening, because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.

Signs and Symptoms 
* Constantly feeling down and hopeless.
*Appears  unhappy, down and miserable all the time.
* Cries regular for no apparent reason.
*Complains of feeling sad and empty.
*Has lost interest in activities he/ she used to enjoy.

People experiencing depression might also be …
* Struggling with work, school or university
* Gained weight or lost weight
*They are restless, agitated or slowed down.
*They have no energy and feel tired all the time.

What can cause depression?
Sometimes depression can occur for no obvious reason at all, but it is still important to get help., don’t try and deal with depression on your own. 
* Family history of an mental illness.
* childhood or anxiety as a kid.
*Family Arguments
*Parents separating or getting divorced.
* Older siblings moving out.
*Physical or emotional abuse.
*One of your parents having depression or another mental illness.
*No self esteem.
*Not getting along or fighting with friends or family.
* Not coping in general
* Stress
* Not being able or wanting to talk to people.
* Not having anyone to talk too.
*Not doing well at school or work.
*Financial issues
* Feeling lonely.

What can you do to help someone who has depression?
*Do spend time with them.
*Listen rather than talk. Its important to hear and understand what they are saying.
* Support them and don’t leave their side, be part of their support team.
* Help the person to realize the things they struggle with and find ways of dealing with them.
*Help and encourage them to lead a happy, healthy life and to continue doing things that they find enjoyment in.
*Support and encourage them to keep getting whatever support or treatment is needed.

What can you do to help yourself?
Self- help techniques
 If you have depression yourself its important for you to know how to cope too.  One way that you can help yourself (if you are experiencing mild depression is to use and learn self- help techniques. Some good self- help techniques is keeping up a healthy diet and exercising regularly  as well.  Keep in touch with those friends who bring out the best in you, don’t hang around people that will bring you down.  Its really important to avoid alcohol and drugs, as these can make your  depression even worse.  Try and relax more, to reduce your stress levels, go for a walk, read a book etc. whatever makes you feel calm and content. Another effective self- help technique is to change the way that you are thinking, many people who have depression think negatively  and get all caught up in a negative thinking pattern.  This may take a while to master  but you can be in control of your mind and what you are thinking about. Changing the way you think about things can change those negative thoughts into positive ones, and to have a more optimistic approach to the way how you think about things.  

Going to see a doctor
If you feel like the self- help techniques are not making a difference, go and see your doctor. Doctors are able to assess your situation and can help you with a treatment plan. Your  doctor can prescribe medication that is appropriate for you, they are there to help you and do what is best for your needs.

Seeing a counsellor 
Your doctor also may refer you to see a counsellor or psychologist for your treatment this is known as ‘talking therapy’.  Seeing a counsellor means talking to someone about your depression and learning different ways to cope as well as approach it. Seeing a counsellor is not a bad thing they are there to help too and get you through.


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