What you need to know about depression

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Look around. Chances are, whether it’s you, or someone sitting next to you on the bus, someone has had depression. And although the symptoms leave us feeling lonely, we are in fact far from it; more than 300 million people in the world deal with depression everyday. 

And if you want to do that bit more research for those you love, or even for yourself, you are only ever a few clicks away from some answers. 

In fact, therapists point to accepting depression as the first step to moving past this debilitating mental illness. Fact is, depression could be a sign that a change needs to be made in someone’s life. Ignoring it, and pretending that are you aren’t suffering can unsurprisingly prolong it. 

Unfortunately, despite the government schemes and mental health buzzwords littering our social media, a stigma still exists. Being told to just be happier is help to no one. 

Depression is a legitimate illness, recognised by doctors and therapists alike. It’s not actually you, it’s the chemical imbalances in your brain that are keeping you so down. 

So if you’re looking to reach out to others, or even to look after yourself that little bit more, here is everything you need to know about depression. 

Spotting depression 

It would be an easy mistake to simplify the symptoms of any mental illness. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be keeping an eye out for others, as well as for ourselves. 

The easiest ones we can work out are often the outward appearance of a persistent sad or anxious mood. A sense of hopelessness or worthlessness – a general sense of just feeling empty –  are often classified as the core moods surrounding depression. So if anyone is voicing similar ideas, consider starting a conversation. 

Better yet, if you start to recognise the following symptoms in yourself, it might be time to confront what you face. 

Loss of interest in hobbies and decreased energy levels are some of the symptoms that can slip beneath the radar. Maybe they are stressed from work, or they are busy and can’t meet up tonight? While these excuses are plausible, there could be something you are missing beneath the surface. 

And the same goes for having trouble sleeping. Although we all toss and turn now and then, lack of sleep teaming up with appetite changes and irritability might be a sign that you might not just be having a difficult week. 

The most obvious – and most extreme – symptom is thoughts of death, or suicide. Even if you aren’t having such dark thoughts, but might be used to dealing with the other symptoms, you could still be suffering with what is termed an invisible illness. And it’s this approach that we should be considering for those around us. 

What causes depression?

Chances are, if you know some of the symptoms all too well, yet don’t feel as if you have the cause to feel as you do, you will write off any chances of a mental illness. But the fact is, depression doesn’t necessarily need a cause. 

In scientific terms, depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. The chemicals which controls our moods might be not be up to scratch, leaving you feeling worse for wear. 

How to heal yourself, or those around you

It might seem an upward battle, but take yourself back to the beginning of this post; for everyone that’s struggling with depression, is someone that is also learning to fight back. 

Dealing with depression is a journey that requires accepting yourself, and getting outside of your comfort zone. And like any mental illness, the best remedies are therapy, and medication. 

Therapy in particular is a pretty common pastime, and doesn’t bare any shame or stigma on the same levels that it used to.  If you’re looking to get someone else involved, simply try starting that conversation, or just reach out so they know you, and some professional help is never too far away. In fact, thanks to our trusty digital sidekicks, a few taps on your phone can connect your to the help that we all need sometimes.

Aside from the most popular ways to heal from depression, therapists suggest giving healthy activities a go. Whether you’re going for a walk, or meeting up with a mate, you can successfully tick off something from your to do list, and prove some of those symptoms wrong. Or, as a friend, you can help encourage them to be a part of such activities. 

Exercise is reportedly one of the greatest ways to kick back at certain mental illnesses, as well as mindfulness meditations to help you live in the moment. And by including the people that you love, whether they need it, or you do, you can send on some of the positive vibes everyone needs. 

Staying isolated is the easiest way to let depression fester. Being lonely is never easy, but with difficult thoughts – perhaps even dangerous ones – you could be neglecting yourself.

Take a minute, and look at the people around you. And don’t forget to look at yourself now and then.

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