Everyone feels down, upset or sad from time to time, it’s part of life and being human. When we experience stressful times or upsetting events, feelings of low mood are a normal reaction and will usually pass with time. However if feelings of low mood persist or worsen and start to get in the way of you living your life to the full this could be depression.
When depressed we can feel overwhelmed and unable to cope or do anything to help ourselves. Relationships, family life, work and quality of life can suffer as a result of depression and we can feel stuck in a downward spiral which can feel very isolating. Often people experiencing depression think they are the only one who feels this way, but they are not alone.
It is estimated that as many as one in every four people experience significantly depressed mood at some time in their lives and depression can affect any kind of person at any stage of their life.
Depression does not discriminate between people of any age, gender, culture, religion, sexuality, profession, race, ethnic background, marital status, level of income, degree of education or between those who are extrovert or shy – everyone is susceptible.
People experience depression in different ways, but common psychological and physical symptoms include:
- feeling down, depressed or hopeless;
- trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much;
- feeling tired or having little energy;
- little interest or pleasure in doing things;
- poor appetite or overeating;
- feeling bad about yourself, or that you are a failure in some way;
- difficulty concentrating;
- finding it hard to function at work or at home;
- avoiding other people, sometimes even family or close friends.
Clients with depression often tell me they’re worried that they are going crazy, because the way they are thinking, feeling and behaving makes no sense to them or those around them.
Causes of depression can be complex and whilst it may be triggered by a single event, more often depression is caused by a combination of factors interacting with one another over a period of time.
These might include stressful life events such as bereavement, change, loss, work issues, financial pressures, relationship problems, family issues or early life experiences such as neglect, trauma or abuse.
It can be a relief to be able to talk openly in a confidential environment, knowing you will not be judged or pressurised, but listened to and understood by someone trained and experienced in working with depression.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to explore and express your thoughts, feelings and actions in a safe, supportive environment at a pace that’s right for you. This process can help you to make sense of your distressing feelings and symptoms and help you explore any changes you might want to make, so that gradually you can find a way forward.