Depression is a very real and treatable illness. But stigma, myths and misunderstandings persist and continue to be barriers to treatment for many.
The consequences of untreated depression can be life-threatening. Understanding the facts about depression can save lives. Here are five things you should know about depression...
1. Depression is more than feeling sad
Depression means different things to different people; many depressive symptoms aren’t commonly recognized as such. Depression is a low mood that stays over a long period of time, which then affects your ability to succeed in your daily life by making you believe that things will not get better. It is not always feelings of sadness either-it can be a feeling of disconnect, trouble concentrating or feeling on edge.
2. Depression often makes people emotionally distant and self-critical
Depression can be feeling quiet or having emotional difficulty in relationships. You may care a lot about others, but you let very few people into your inner world. It can bring feelings of worthlessness and sometimes even thoughts of suicide. Depression also impacts how people see themselves, see others and the world around them. It can cause distorted thinking patterns.
3. Depression can make people more likely to self harm
This can be surprising for some, but self harm is a fairly common way for people to cope with their feelings. It can actually be a life saving behaviour if it’s used instead of suicide. It doesn’t mean you are “messed up”, it means you may be depressed and struggling to cope and this provides you relief from strong emotions that can feel overpowering. As therapists, we help you change the way you manage emotions and figure out a way to take care of yourself while you are moving through depression.
4. Depression does not mean you are not grateful
People sometimes feel upset with themselves for feeling so low or unhappy, after all they have a great life and lots to be thankful for. This is an illness, it is not your choice. Showing yourself compassion is so important, this means recognizing and acknowledging your symptoms and responding to them with compassion and love as this will most certainly reduce suffering over being hard on yourself and frustrated with how you are feeling. It can be hard to accept and express these painful emotions.
5. Depression doesn't always have a "good" reason
Sometimes people become depressed for what seems like a "good" reason - maybe they lost their job or a close friend passed away - but with clinical depression, there doesn't necessarily have to be a reason for how you feel. The chemicals in the brain that are responsible for mood control may be out of balance causing you to feel bad even though everything in your life is going well.
Talking this out and incorporating mind and body strategies with the support of a trusted person can really help reduce your suffering. Therapists can help you work though these thoughts and feelings and develop some new ways to cope.
We're here if you want to talk :) Take the first step and call us for an appointment ...(506) 651-1239