Depression is a common experience. At times, most of us have all felt depressed over a situation or stressful experience. This is usually short lived, or comes and goes as the event or situation changes. Depression becomes a mental illness when the mood state is severe, lasts for two weeks or more, or stops us from functioning to our full capacity.
One in every five Australians will experience some form of mental illness each year. A mental illness is a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feeling or behaviour and causes the person distress and difficulty in functioning. As with many diseases, the intensity is different for each individual. In some cases it may be mild and in others very severe.
There are many types of depression and some are more severe than others. If you have been diagnosed with Melancholic Depression or Psychotic Depression, it is highly likely that you will be medicated. Although you will certainly gain relief from some of the strategies I outline, it is imperative that you work in conjunction with your General Practitioner or Mental Health Specialist.
Non Melancholic Depression is the most common type of depression. It has psychological causes and is very often linked to stressful events in a person’s life. Non Melancholic Depression has a high rate of spontaneous remission; it often goes away with lifestyle changes and personal development.
Many people are not aware that they may be suffering from depression. They go through their lives not really understanding what is wrong with them, only that they have an overwhelming feeling of not coping. They feel that they have no control over what happens in their life and that their sense of purpose has been lost. They feel that there must be more to life, they feel stuck.
A person suffering with anxiety and depression or both may not necessarily look sick.
Know that you are not alone if you are experiencing some or all of the following symptoms:
- Lower than normal energy levels
- Low self esteem
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, guilt, irritability and anxiety
- Change in sleep patterns, insomnia or broken sleep
- Varying emotions throughout the day, for example, feeling worse in the morning and better as the day progresses
- Reduced capacity to experience pleasure: you can’t enjoy what is happening now, nor look forward to anything with pleasure
- Hobbies and interests drop off
- Reduced pain tolerance: you are less able to tolerate aches and pains and may have a host of new ailments
- Absent or reduced sex drive
- Poor concentration and memory: some people are so impaired that they think they are suffering from dementia
- Reduced motivation: it doesn’t seem worth the effort to do anything, as it all seems meaningless.
You may not display each symptom, or your symptoms may come and go in waves. However recognising these symptoms can be an early warning sign to the bigger and ongoing problems and should be addressed.
Anxiety and depression are very common and are nothing to be ashamed of.
If you recognise these symptoms in yourself, it is time to embrace the fact that you potentially have a mental health problem. Consider starting work with a skilled professional and combining the Happy Mind Formula strategies to take charge of your mental and physical well being.
The positive lifestyle changes you make will vastly increase your quality of life. You will experience more energy, a positive mind set, feel motivated about life and experience improved self esteem.