We often hear people relating depression with sadness. They seemed to have no idea that depression is a serious mental illness, and it can hamper your daily activities. From sleeping disturbances to food intake everything ruins. Social withdrawal is at its peak when someone is dealing with depression. Thought blockage, getting numb at times, forgetting about stuff, intensity of speech decreases. With each passing day things gets worse and eventually if these symptoms continue for more than two weeks the person is diagnosed with depression.
There is no single reason as why depression occurs/happens. It is different for all of us. A person might be laughing and still be depressed so it is not just limited to when someone is sitting at one corner with sad face. For some it is due to the environmental stressors and for some there are no specific reasons…and its okayyyy.
Signs and Symptoms of depression
Changes in feelings or emotions for instance feeling worthless or guilty a lot of the time, feeling like everything is becoming ‘too hard’, feeling unhappy, numb, empty, moody, or irritable/snappy, less interest in things that used to be enjoyable
Changes in thought process for instance self bashing, negative thoughts about oneself the world and the future, having a hard time concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things, having thoughts of self-harm, having thoughts of death or suicide. Physical changes like feeling tired most of the time, lack of energy and motivation, sleep disturbances or not feeling rested regardless of the amount of sleep, changes in appetite(either eating too much or nothing at all resulting in weight loss or weight gain), aches and pains that can’t be explained. Behaviour changes like withdrawing from family and friends, not getting things done, difficulty with school, university, work (studies and daily life activities),consuming higher amount of alcohol and/or other drugs and getting into unnecessary trouble and fights.
Symptoms needed to meet the criteria for ‘depressive episode’ in ICD-10
● Depressed mood
● Loss of interest and enjoyment
● Reduced energy and decreased activity
● Reduced concentration
● Reduced self-esteem and confidence
● Ideas of guilt and unworthiness
● Pessimistic thoughts
● Ideas of self-harm
● Disturbed sleep
● Diminished appetite
Mild depressive episode: at least two of A and at least two of B Moderate depressive episode: at least two of A and at least three of B Severe depressive episode: all three of A and at least four of B Severity of symptoms and degree of functional impairment also guide classification.
How can I help myself?
There are lots of things that you can do to improve how you feel and get better at managing tough feelings. It can feel hard to find the energy or motivation to do these things. Sometimes it might feel like nothing will help. Try starting with one thing you know you can do, then slowly add things in step by step. This can help you feel like you’re making progress. Try some relaxation techniques, monitor your emotions and your thought patterns, journaling (it helps, trust me!)
How can you help someone who is dealing with depression?
Well to be honest, it’s never too easy to do something for the people who are dealing with any type of mental illness and that there are no perfect words to say to someone who is depressed. Sometimes words don't help. They can, however, assist. Reminding someone that you're there for them whenever they need you whether it's with a small task or someone to call in an emergency can be crucial to saving a life.
Listen to them| validate their feelings| help them find support| support them in continuing therapy| stay in touch| take care of yourself as well, don't let their illness affect you (It's okay to have boundaries)
When is the right time for professional guidance?
To be honest there is no right and wrong time for therapy and since we all have our ways to deal with it and that it has affected or at times healed us differently, we would take our time to start feel what they should be feeling. Whenever you feel like you need some assistance when you are not able to handle your day-to-day work and not being able to live up to your expectations , you should seek professional assistance.