- Posted by Snapclarity
- On October 3, 2019
Depression is among the most common mental disorders and the most treatable, but it’s not always well understood, or easy to detect.
At some time in their life, an estimated 1 in 4 Canadians will have a degree of depression severe enough to need treatment.
But, it’s not one size fits all for depression.
In honour of destigmatizing this common mental health disorder, we delve into some truths that everyone should know.
What is depression?
Depression, from a medical standpoint, refers to feelings of sadness or low mood that lasts longer than two weeks, and affects your everyday life.
What causes depression?
There is not one single cause of depression. It typically develops due to a combination of factors, such as life events (i.e. trauma or death of a loved one) and biological factors (i.e. genetics, hormones or an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain).
People affected by depression often experience negative thinking patterns and may stop doing their normal activities. A ‘vicious cycle’ can begin when your mood is low and you don’t feel like doing anything so you stop doing the things you enjoy or need to do– consequently making you feel worse.
Signs and symptoms of depression
Everyone experiences depression differently. Depression ranges from mild to severe and is something that will not just go away over time if ignored.
Examples of common depression signs and symptoms:
- feeling down or ‘numb’ for longer than two weeks
- losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- difficulty concentrating
- lack of energy, or feeling fatigued
- negative self-talk
“Bad experiences don’t define you. They are something a person experiences, but they are not the person themselves. A person having a panic attack is not their panic attack. A person with depression, is not depression. You can walk in the rain, and feel the rain but, importantly, you are not the rain. I was not the rain. Metaphorically, I was soaked to my skin, but I wasn’t the rain.” – Matt Haig, mental health advocate and author of Reasons to Stay Alive.
What you may not have known about depression
- Depression does not need a good reason
Sometimes people become depressed following an incident and for what seems like a good reason—but with clinical depression, this is not the case. The chemicals in the brain responsible for mood control may be out of balance, causing you to feel low even though everything in your life is going well.
- Getting help can be difficult
When dealing with mental health issues or depression, it can be difficult to ask for help. But, getting help is essential for you to live your best life possible. Therapy can teach you tools to reframe your negative thinking and combat the side effects of depression.
- Everyday tasks seem impossible
Depression can make you feel wiped of energy. Even simple tasks such as sending an email or making a cup of coffee can leave you exhausted. Focus on small goals and avoid overwhelming yourself. Be proud of taking steps towards returning to your daily routines.
- You feel alone, even when you’re not
Even when someone else is in the room with you, depression leaves you feeling alone and isolated. You may know your loved ones care about you, yet you still feel unworthy of love and affection and that nobody understands you. This can make you want to withdraw and disconnect even more from others. Try to keep a journal listing all the people in your life who care about you, as a helpful reminder of your support network.
- Anger can underlie depression
Anger is a common emotion connected to depression. Although it can be a hard emotion to deal with, anger is a natural human reaction to frustration. It’s crucial to deal with your anger or else you tend to turn it on yourself. Permit yourself to fully feel your feelings while striving to control yourself from acting them out in a harmful way.
Shattering the depression stigma
We need to understand the truths about depression in order to demolish the stigma that often spans generations. While depression can be serious and difficult to manage, it is far from hopeless. There are many effective treatments and actions people can take to overcome this disorder, and it’s imperative to reach out for the professional mental health support you need and deserve.
Download Snapclarity to complete your free mental health check-up.