If you do then you are not on your own, according to the Office of National Statistics, around 10% of the population are depressed at any one point in time. So that is roughly a massive 6 million people in the UK alone. Moreover, a whopping two thirds of you stated that you felt pressure to be ‘up beat’ all the time. So if you don’t what happens?
The problem is, as with many mental health issues, people seem to not want to talk about them for fear of being discriminated against or even having feelings of shame attached to their problems. But talking about mental health issues is a very good way of dealing with the problem as people then find out that they are not alone and even celebrities like Frankie Sandford from The Saturdays can suffer the devastating effects of depression; hers actually leading her to being hospitalised.
So how do you know if you are suffering from depression or you just feel a little low at times? The thing to remember with feeling a bit off is that everyone can feel like that from time to time, the problem is when your low mood has lasted for more than a couple of weeks and it is starting to affect your sleep patterns, you lose interest in the things you used to enjoy doing and you can’t see things getting any better with time. So let’s look at the symptoms of depression and see how can you break the taboo of not talking about it.
Things that you once did and enjoyed are no longer pleasurable.
You feel as if you will burst into tears at the drop of a hat, you feel irritated at the smallest things and you are tired a lot of the time.
You have negative thoughts about yourself and others and you feel guilty.
Your self esteem is low and you lack your normal confidence.
You have lost interest in people around you and activities that once excited you.
Your sleep patterns have changed, you find you are sleeping much more as you are constantly tired.
Eating has changed and you crave sugary carbohydrates such as cakes, biscuits and pastries.
You cannot concentrate on work and your memory is poor.
If you find that you are suffering from the above symptoms then you should book an appointment to see your GP as soon as you can. In the meantime, choose a close friend or family member and tell them how you are feeling right at this moment. It is important for someone who is dealing with depression to know that they have support from a close source at all times. So although you do not have to make it your latest Facebook status, try telling at least your best mate and use a topic that you both can engage in. For example, if a depression story was featured on a soap recently, start off by mentioning that. Another way of getting the ball rolling and opening up about your depression is to take an opportunity to talk, if someone offers it. So the next time someone asks you how you are, tell them honestly and don’t just say that you are fine. As a friend who may know someone who is depressed, you can also do your bit by being constantly in the background, waiting if you are needed. You can send a text to ask if your friend is ok or send a voice mail, post a happy card with a note to let them know you are there and ready to listen. You can also ask them what would make them feel better and if there is anything that you can do for them. Depression hits people in different ways so be prepared to help in different ways too. Finally, if someone does decide to open up to you, remember that it must have taken them an awful lot of courage to do so, so do not judge them, just listen and offer unconditional support. Ask them questions and make sure they visit their doctor.
Useful sites to help with depression are –
NHS Depression – http://www.nhs.uk/pathways/depression/
Mind BBC – Health – http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/index_interactivebody.shtml
Depression Alliance Patient – http://www.patient.co.uk/support/Depression-Alliance.htm
NetDoctor – http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/