Even though the majority of us are more aware of the prevalence of mental illness, there is still a stigma attached to the subject and many of us often still find it an uncomfortable issue to discuss.
Whether we know someone who is suffering from depression or not, we should all remember that mental illness is no different from any physical health condition. We should all bear in mind that any one of us at any point during our lives may suffer from depression.
Depression is a common yet serious mental illness that is estimated to affect around 350 million people worldwide. More women are thought to be affected than men, yet this is could be attributed to the fact that more women are likely to report their symptoms.
Each of our life journeys will inevitably take unexpected twists and turns with the possibility of leading us into depression. Genetics, brain chemistry and personality can all attribute to the onset of the condition, too. But depression doesn’t discriminate; it can affect the person who seems to have the perfect life as much as it can affect the person experiencing major problems.
Depression affects how you think, act, feel and handle daily activities such as work, sleep, and eating. Many people loosely say “I feel depressed” to express a normal, temporary drop in mood following a negative event, such as having an argument with a spouse or experiencing financial difficulties. But despite its name being associated with sadness, true depression can cause a lot more than negative feelings.
The signs and symptoms of depression can include:
- Persistent low mood or negative feelings
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or pessimistic
- Persistent or frequent anger or irritability
- Feelings of guilt or helplessness
- Loss of interest in enjoyable hobbies or activities
- Low/ reduced energy, tiredness or fatigue
- Talking, thinking or moving more slowly
- Feelings of restlessness or having trouble sitting still
- Concentration difficulties
- Having trouble remembering or making decisions
- Sleeping difficulties or over sleeping
- Changes in weight/ appetite.
- Thoughts of death
- Suicidal thoughts
Worryingly, it is estimated that only about one-third of people dealing with depression actually seek professional help.
Even in the most severe cases, depression can usually be treated. The key is to recognise and get it treated as soon as possible.
Just like anyone can fall over and break their arm, anyone can suffer from depression. There is no difference. Would you leave your broken arm untreated?