Depression doesn’t discriminate. Naturally, our moods will fluctuate and most of us will experience depression at some point in our lives. We often feel low in response to different stressors. If you’ve been feeling a bit numb or disconnected, and a low mood has clouded your sense of self, purpose and joy in life, it’s important to find a different way forward. Despite how depression makes you feel, you’re not alone, 1 in 6 Australian experience depression right now.
Experiences of depression can vary from mild cases to the more severe. If you are suffering from depression, you may relate to the idea of feeling stuck in your sadness; a sense that you cannot imagine being happy again. Depression has been linked to many underlying factors. Depression sometimes runs in families or maybe a chemical imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters that regulate our mood. Situational depression is often linked to external events such as being diagnosed with an illness, a relationship breakup, or work stress. Perinatal depression occurs during pregnancy and after having a child, and seasonal affective disorder may set in during the colder months. Yet feeling depressed for no reason is just as common, and often harder to talk about.
A major depressive episode includes the following symptoms:
• depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, whether noticed by yourself or someone else who knows your normal mood
• significant decrease in interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities, most of the day, nearly every day
• significant changes in your weight (be it weight loss or weight gain), or a series of daily change in your eating patterns and appetite.
• Consistent trouble sleeping or feeling more sleepy than usual (insomnia and hypersomnia)
• Feeling ‘charged’ or fidgety agitation or listless nearly every day
• Feeling fatigued or experiencing a loss of energy nearly every day
• feelings worthless or inappropriately guilty nearly every day
• finding it harder to think or concentrate, or make decisions, nearly every day
• having repeated thoughts of death, considering or thinking about suicidal themes (be it with or without a specific plan to suicide).
Depression is common, and it is treatable. Symptoms may vary from person to person, but all types of depression – from mild to severe – can be effectively treated with mood management strategies. Depression is particularly responsive to counselling treatment. Research shows that counselling combined with physical exercise, healthy eating, and sleeping well can dramatically improve wellbeing and reduce the symptoms of depression.
Counselling targets the underlying causes of depression. You’ll learn strategies to help regulate your mood, and ways to manage stress effectively.