Let’s get talking about Depression
This week I’d like to get us talking about Depression.
So what exactly is depression?
Depression is an illness, but one which is very difficult to define or explain. It’s not enough to just describe it as a low mood over a long period of time, because it affects different people in different ways, and solutions can be as complicated and unique as the individuals who experience it.
It can happen to anybody, at any time, and often coexists with other types of physical or mental illness such as anxiety, and can lead to self-harm or even suicide.
Many people describe a numbness, not being able to connect to feelings or emotions, feeling incredibly lonely even when surrounded by others, along with a lack of energy and of being exhausted trying to make everyone think you’re fine.
Then there is the constant anxiety and fear that prevents you from asking for help, because if you let someone else know you’re struggling, the stigma and judgement that may follow can have a huge impact on your relationships, career, livelihood and hopes for the future.
The Danger Zone
Most of us like to feel that we’re in control of our lives, at least to some extent, but recent events have taken much of that control away and we don’t know when, or even if, we’ll get it back again!
The future is likely to be different from anything we might have imagined only a few weeks ago and the consequences for our mental health may last longer than the virus which is causing all of this. As a result, a lot of people may now be in danger of experiencing depression, many for the first time.
So how do you cope when just getting out of bed, or getting up out of a chair, seems almost impossible?
Start by talking to someone about how you’re feeling. And for those who are listening, sometimes people just need to know that they matter, that they’re not as terrible as they think they are.
Try to find ways to connect to your emotions. Some people find drawing or painting works really well. Fresh air, exercise and listening to music helps me. The Five Ways to Wellbeing that we talked about last time can be a great place to begin as you search for a combination that works for you.
For some it might be a one-time experience, for others it happens from time to time, and for yet others it’s a constant battle, like circling around a black hole trying not to get pulled in. Medication works well for some, but others need to consider alternative forms of treatment and coping strategies to get well from this.
Don’t blame yourself. It’s an illness. You can get help and you can get better.
Take care and be safe.