One in six Australians are experiencing depression or anxiety – or both. Take a moment to absorb those statistics. Think about your friends or family, or just look around you. One in six are suffering from this silent disease.
How do you know if you or a loved one is depressed?
Signs and symptoms:
Low mood. Unmotivated. Feeling hopeless and helpless. Overwhelmed. Sadness. Loneliness. Fatigue. Weight loss or gain. Withdrawing from loved ones. Avoiding social situations. Sleep problems.
What causes depression?
Childhood experiences/trauma – especially if the child felt out of control and helpless.
Family history – if a parent or sibling has depression.
Long-term health problems – such as heart, lung, kidney disease, diabetes and asthma.
Personality traits – such as neuroticism & pessimism.
Money – stress caused by financial concerns and worries about debt.
Stress – when a person cannot cope with the demands placed upon them.
Job or unemployment – effects status and self-esteem, perception of a positive future and ability to engage socially.
Bereavement – following a death of a family member, friend or pet.
Alcohol and drugs – due to the physiological, social and economic consequences of addiction.
Bullying – among children and adults, whether it be physical or verbal, face to face or online.
Loneliness – as a result of health or disability, especially in the elderly.
Pregnancy and birth – and the overwhelming prospect of parenthood for new mothers.
Relationship problems – leading to depression in the longer term.
The most important thing to remember is that depression is not who you are. It is like an overcast sky: just beyond your sadness is a blue sky and sunshine. We just need to find a way to clear the clouds.
I think I have depression. Now what ?
Depression is the most isolating illness. It is so difficult to articulate the pain and sadness you are feeling inside, but I promise – once you reach out and open up to a friend or family member, you will begin to feel the weight of the world lift off your shoulders.
If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out to a loved one, there are plenty of trained psychologists who are more than happy to help. For me personally, seeing a psychologist has completely transformed my life and helped me to become the strongest, most resilient and most happy version of myself.
Where to find professional help?
There are plenty of resources available online for those suffering from mental illness. You can search for a psychologist who is perfect for you on this website. Here is a list of additional resources to help guide you in a positive direction:
Beyond Blue - 1300 22 4636
Lifeline - 13 11 14
Black Dog Institute
Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800
Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467
— References —
Image source - Photographer Logan Lambert
Good Reasons for Bad Feelings
How Psychology Works - applied psychology visually explained