Depression ‘loss of hope’
Unlike stress and anxiety depression is a clinical illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. It can be a very destructive and debilitating illness and like any illness can affect anyone but because it cannot be seen many people find it hard to understand or deal with.
You may hear people say ‘what have they got to be depressed about, they have a great job, family, partner, no financial worries etc’ but sometimes external issues do not cause depression.
On occasions you can become depressed due to an adverse life event, an event that you can’t seem to pull yourself through and you simply stop feeling good about your life or any aspect of it.
Depression can come on over a period of time so that both the sufferer and those around them only become gradually aware of the changes and often don’t understand what is happening.
The sufferer often experiences feelings of emptiness, loss of self worth and loss of interest or enjoyment in things that previously gave pleasure. They find it difficult to discuss or explain to family or friends as they don’t understand what is happening to them. This leads to withdrawal and a strong sense of isolation and loneliness which can prove to be destructive within relationships.
Other signs may be unprovoked violent outbursts especially towards loved ones, irrational or erratic behaviour and deterioration in personal care or appearance. Untreated these symptoms may lead to acts of self harm and suicidal thoughts, ‘the world would be better off without me, no one would notice if I wasn’t around’
While antidepressants are usually the first line of treatment they will reduce the symptoms and prevent further deterioration and improve mood or reduce mood swings they don’t eliminate the problem.
Counselling therapy can be extremely effective in helping the sufferer to understand what is happening to them and to discuss their feelings in a safe environment without having to involve family and friends.
Guilt is often a strong emotion in depression and talking to a Therapist rather than someone close is often a lot easier.
A good Therapist can help you to understand why and where these feelings originate which makes it easier to confront them and therefore helps you to regain some confidence and control and move toward your recovery.
It also helps to make it easier for you to explain it to those close to you and help them to understand what is happening and why. This can help to reduce the negative impact depression can have on relationships.
Recognising that you are suffering from depression is not easy and asking for any sort of help can be extremely difficult, but the sooner you ask for help the sooner you can start your recovery, and remember its not your fault, it can happen to anyone.