The Write Array by Jeanné Olivier

A personal blog about Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression and Mindfulness.

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Depression

Even the word, DEPRESSION, sounds somber and oppressive, doesn’t it?

It makes me think of being trapped in a small, dark room while the walls slowly move closer and closer.  Or, being lost in the darkness of space with nothing to hang on to.  


For me it is constant overwhelm because I am not able to filter or control the emotions that make me feel so completely hopeless and utterly useless.  And also, extreme exhaustion, and total exasperation, because I can’t move forward from these feelings.  


The NHS says:


Some people think Depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or something you can snap out of by pulling yourself together.


In other words snapping out of Depression is about as easy as snapping out of Cancer, or healing a broken leg by pulling yourself together.  The moment I realised this, was the moment I knew I could get better. 


So, if you are suffering from Depression and still think you should be able to snap out of it and pull yourself together, please repeat after me: 


Depression is a REAL illness, with REAL symptoms, and therefore requires REAL treatment.  


Whether that is through hospitalisation, medication, counselling or self-help, it should NOT be left UNTREATED.


The NHS describes the symptoms of Depression as complex and says that it varies widely between people. But it generally makes you feel sad and hopeless and lets you lose interest in things you would normally enjoy.


Typical (but not all) signs of Depression are: 


Low mood or sadness and feeling hopeless/helpless


Low self-esteem 


Feeling tearful


Feeling guilty, irritable and intolerant


Low/no motivation or interest in normal day-to-day life


Difficulty making decisions / overthinking 


Finding no joy in life


Feeling anxious or worried


Thinking about or harming yourself


Having suicidal thoughts


Lack of energy


Moving or speaking more slowly than usual 


Changes in appetite or weight 


Constipation and/or unexplained aches and pains


Disturbed sleep or sleeping too much


Struggling with work for no apparent reason


Avoiding friends and social activities


Neglecting hobbies and interests


Difficulties in your home and family life


And many more...or perhaps less, everyone is different.


I think it is helpful to do a mood assessment like this one: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mood-self-assessment/  


Or if you do a search on Google you’ll find many similar assessments, but the important thing is to establish what your mood and level of Depression is.


Getting a diagnosis was one of the first steps on the road to feeling better for me.  It gave me so much hope to have an explanation for what was going on with me. 


I also wanted to educate myself on exactly what Depression is and I realised that there are various shapes, sizes and flavours, which you can read more about on these websites:


https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/


https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/low-mood-and-depression/


https://www.mind.org.uk/


https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/d/depression/


https://www.depressionalliance.org/complete-guide-to-depression/


I think it makes sense to learn about this illness and find out how to get help, but try to stick to recognised organisations - like the ones listed above - for concrete advice and treatment suggestions.