Depression is a common problem which effects hundreds of million people worldwide. It often goes undiagnosed.
At best some feel “a little blue”, but at it’s worst depression is debilitating and fatal. Around 15% of people who are clinically depressed take their own life. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in America with approximately 40,000 deaths and 550,000 attempts.
Symptoms of depression include – feeling miserable and tired, not enjoying activities you once took pleasure in, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, feeling like a failure, loss of confidence, aches and pains with no apparent physical cause, feeling you have no future.
I would like to stress that, if you feel you are suffering from depression, please go and see a doctor. They are very helpful with such matters and can point you to local counselling sessions.
2 main types of depression
There are many different kinds of depression. They stem from two main types. One, which is caused by a negative event in your life, known as psychological depression. The second has no apparent cause or reason. This is called existential depression – and is the most common.
Psychological depression is the easiest to overcome, as you know the root of the problem. It is important to step back and look at the event that triggered the depression. It may be the death of a loved one, a divorce, job loss or any other setback.
With existential depression it is more difficult as you do not know the cause. Two things are important in these cases – how bad the depression is, and how long you have been suffering. This kind of depression is harder to deal with, as others aren’t as understanding or sympathetic.
These two types of depression branch off into many different kinds of depression. This includes – Postnatal depression, manic depression, seasonal adjustment disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, atypical depression, major depression, dysthymia and more. These can all be treated with various kinds of medication. However drugs do not treat depression, only the symptoms.
Antidepressants are only effective in one third of cases, partially effective in another third and have no effect in the other third. A lot of people who are prescribed antidepressants do not finish the course because they find the side effects to be more unpleasant than the depression itself. It is a documented fact that sufferers of depression who are treated by antidepressants alone, relapse 80% of the time.
How you can deal with your depression
What should you do to deal with depression? The first two things you should do are tell a doctor, and tell a family member. If there are counselling sessions available (these are usually free), go to at least a handful to see if they work for you.
A change of diet and lifestyle may also help. The high sugar in sweets and excess fat in snack foods can send your mind “haywire” as it is constantly monitoring hormone and chemical levels. Maintaining a balanced diet of foods such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, yoghurts, fish, lean meat and pulses will improve both your physical and mental health.
Try and exercise for thirty minutes everyday. This can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk, joining a yoga, tai chi, or aerobics class. When you exercise your brain releases endorphins that produce a sense of well-being and make you feel happier and energised.
Since 2004, the UK’s NHS has recognised meditation’s ability to help depression, anxiety and pain…