Mental illness is an issue that is close to my heart, particularly depression because of my own battle with it. A lot of the time people don't understand the facts and how depression affects people, thus I thought I would share some facts on depression with you. There isn't just one black and white type of depression and it is important to note that just because people have the same type of depression it doesn't mean they are affected in the same way.
Depression is an illness that can affect how you feel for weeks and months at a time. Depression is a lasting low mood, that can affect work, school, relationships hobbies and everything in between. It is important to seek help early. The early depression is treated the sooner you can feel like yourself again, there are plenty of resources you can access which will be listed at the end of this post.
Depression comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn't discriminate.
How do I know if I have depression?
Anybody can get depression and it is important to know what the symptoms are in order to know when you should seek help. If you ever feel as though you have depression you should contact a healthcare professional. There are some helpline numbers listed at the end of this blog post.
• Continuous low, sad or depressed mood. The person may describe this as as feeling empty, having no feelings, or they may complain of pain.
• Loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities. This one is basically a reduction in enjoyment from things you once got a lot of joy and happiness from.
• Irritable mood.This may be the main mood change, especially in younger people, and in men (especially from Maori and Pacific ethnic groups).
• Change in sleeping patterns. Most commonly reduced sleep, with difficulty getting to sleep, disturbed sleep, and/or waking early and being unable to go back to sleep. Some people sleep too much. Most people with depression wake feeling unrefreshed by their sleep.
• Change in appetite. Most often people do not feel like eating and as a result will lose weight. Some people have increased appetite, often without pleasure in eating. This is often seen in those who also sleep more.
• Decreased energy, tiredness and fatigue. This can be so severe that people find it difficult to do the smallest tasks.
• Physical slowing and/or agitation. Often comes with severe depression. The person may sit in one place for long periods and move, respond and talk very slowly; or they may be unable to sit still, but pace and wring their hands. The same person may experience alternating slowing and agitation.
• Thoughts of worthlessness or guilt. As a result of feeling bad about themselves, people may withdraw from doing things and from contact with others. This is a dangerous sign of depression and it is important to seek help.
• Thoughts of hopelessness, harming themselves and death.They may feel there is no hope in life, wish they were dead or have thoughts of suicide. If you ever feel suicidal or suspect somebody is suicidal or hurting themselves, you should get help immediately and phone 111 if someone is in danger to themselves or others. If you are worried about somebody you can visit the Mental Health Foundations page on ‘Suicidal Thoughts: Worried about someone.’ You can access it here.
• Difficulty thinking clearly. People may have difficulty in concentrating. They may not be able to read the paper or watch television. They may also have great difficulty making simple everyday decisions.
'Treatment of depression can involve a number of aspects, each of which can be tailored to your individual need. For most, a combination of medication and talking therapies such as counseling can be effective. It is also important, that if you decide to get counseling that you find a counselor that is suitable for you and that you feel comfortable with.
• Depression affects 1 in 5 New Zealanders.
• 1 in 4 young adults will suffer an episode of depression before age 24.
• Women are twice as likely to experience depression than men.
• Globally more than 350 Million people live with depression.
• Many creative individuals experienced depression, including Ludwig van Beethoven, John Lennon, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Georgia O’Keefe, Vincent van Gogh, Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Plath
Where you can find help:
• Depression helpline. Freephone 0800 111 757
• Lowdown: thelowdon.co.nz
• Sparx: sparx.org.nz/about
• Healthline: 0800 611 116. (Available 24 hours, 7 days a week and free to callers throughout New Zealand, including from a mobile phone).
• Lifeline 0800 543 35
• Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 04 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)
• Ministry of Health. Online self-test
• Big White Wall. Free for Auckland DHB residents. A UK-based professionally facilitated peer support community of people who are experiencing common mental health problems.
• Beating the Blues. Online CBT therapy module, NZ
• CALM Website. Exercises and information you can download.
• Depression.org.nz including The Journal. NZ based self-help program designed to teach you skills that can help get through mild to moderate depression more effectively.
• UK Mental Health Foundation. Free audio podcasts that can help you relax and improve your sense of wellbeing.
• MoodGYM is an interactive web program designed to prevent depression.
Thank you to The Mental Health Foundation for guiding me on this post.
If you would like to Donate to the Mental Health foundation click here.
Does Mental Illness affect you? Did you find this post helpful?
Let me know in the comments below