Have I got your attention?
I thought if I spelt the word correctly, many of you would ignore the article and turn to the next page. Why do I say this you ask? Because it’s a known fact that people who suffer from this have a problem admitting to it and don’t want to discuss the subject. It’s a health issue that affects
more than one million Australians a year.
Still not sure what I’m talking about? Look at the word in a mirror. Yes, that’s right! I guess we all know someone that is, or has suffered from it. Maybe even yourself!
My first encounter.
Over 35 years ago I was sitting next to my wife’s cousin at a wedding function. Great bloke with a wife and a few kids. A couple of years later his wife came home, opened up the garage door and found him hanging from the rafters. Since then I have personally known others that have taken their own lives. In fact, in the last few years I found out through Facebook, a couple of painters
did exactly this. It’s so sad. The problem can be solved, or at least reduced, if:
1. You admit to yourself you have depression and talk to someone about it.
2. Be able to recognize the signs of depression in others and either give them support or
advise them who they should see.
At present, I know three people that are suffering depression; one being a close family member. So this has been a subject I’ve wanted to talk about for a while but wasn’t quite sure how to approach it, or how to write it. I feel the best way to get the message out there would be to leave it to the professionals and copy and paste an article from the ‘Lifeline Support’ website.
‘Everyone feels sad or down sometimes, especially during tough times. Feeling sad or upset is a normal reaction to difficult situations. But, if you have these feelings intensely for long periods of time and are having trouble with normal activities, you may be experiencing depression.
Watch: Kate DeAraugo (Solo artist and winner of Australian Idol 2005) talking about her experience with depression.
What is depression?
Depression is more than just feeling sad or low during tough times. People with depression can have intense negative feelings for weeks, months or even years, sometimes for no good reason.
Unfortunately, many people with depression don’t recognize it or get help. But, it is treatable and most people with depression go on to lead happy, productive lives with the right treatment for them.
Some causes of depression
Relationship problems or conflict – e.g. separation/divorce, difficult/abusive relationship
- Job loss, especially long-term unemployment
- Loneliness or feeling isolated
- Excessive drug or alcohol use
- Having another family member who has depression
- Having a serious physical illness
- Changes in how the brain functions
- Personality factors – e.g. anxiety, low self-esteem
Causes of depression vary from person to person because of a mix of personal risk factors and difficult life events. It’s also common for people to experience depression and anxiety at the same time.
Signs of depression
- Feeling sad, ‘flat’ or down most of the time (for two weeks or more)
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy (for two weeks or more)
- Feeling tired or lacking energy and motivation
- Moodiness that is out of character
- Increased irritability and frustration
- Increased alcohol and drug use
- Changes in your weight or appetite
- Having problems sleeping or sleeping all the time
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Feeling restless, edgy or slowed down
- Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thinking repeatedly about death or suicide
If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms, you may have depression. It is very important to visit your GP or another health professional for a full assessment and to discuss treatment options.
Helpful tips for treating depression
Taking steps to manage depression is important for your current and long-term health. Depression is an illness that can get worse if left untreated.
See your doctor – Talk to your doctor about how you’ve been feeling to find the most appropriate treatment for you. Your doctor can also refer you to a psychologist or other mental health professional for treatment, sometimes with a rebate through Medicare
1. Talk to someone you trust – Talking to family, friends, a counsellor, minister or a crisis line, can help you develop an understanding of your situation and help you move forward. There are some very effective treatments through psychologists/mental health professionals that can make a real difference.
2. Look after yourself – Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep.
Exercise has been shown to help reduce depression. Take time out to relax and do things you used to enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it now. When you have depression it can be hard to get motivated, but it’s important not to isolate yourself.
3. Be aware of your feelings – Noticing changes in your mood and thoughts and identifying what situations make you feel good and bad can help to stop negative thought pattern
4. Keep safe – You may be having thoughts about dying, that it may be better to ‘not be around’ or you don’t know how much longer you can go on. These thoughts are common when people feel very depressed. If you have these thoughts, get help straight away.