Depression is more than just feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk. While we can all feel a bit down now and again, when you’re depressed, those feelings of sadness don’t go away. You can feel low for weeks or even months at a time.
Depression is a mental health condition that affects people of all ages and genders. But the good news is that with the right support and treatment, you can recover from it.
Why Do People Get Depression?
Various things can cause depression. In young people, hormonal changes can play a part in why they might get sad or feel moody more often. But depression is more intense than just feeling sad for a few days. It’s a serious condition that requires treatment. It is possible to develop depression without any noticeable cause. But there are factors linked to this condition.
Big changes in your life can cause depression. For example, losing someone you care about or your parents getting a divorce. These events can stress you out and bring up negative feelings, which can lead to depression.
If someone has a family history of mental health issues, this can increase the chance of them developing depression. Dealing with a serious health condition or a disability can also bring your mood down and lead to depression.
Depression can be connected to stress too. If you have been dealing with a lot of stress, either because of your home life or school, or friendships it can develop into depression over time. Stress can be overwhelming and make it difficult to cope.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
There are physical and emotional symptoms to watch out for with depression. You might have one or two. Or you might have several of them at once.
- Feeling sad or tearful more often than normal
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Losing interest in things that used to make you happy
- Not wanting to spend time with other people
- Feeling tired or like you have no energy
- Changes in your appetite or sleep pattern
- Stomach aches or headaches
- Trouble concentrating or feeling like you have no motivation
In severe cases, depression can also lead to suicidal thoughts. If you think you have been experiencing signs of depression, it’s important to seek professional help from your doctor or school nurse.
How Can I Tell the Difference Between Sadness and Depression?
It can be hard to know the difference between feeling a bit low and having depression. But there are ways to tell the difference. For example, how long have you been feeling like this? If you have had feelings or sadness or worthlessness for quite a while, it could show that it’s not just sadness. You should also look at how strong the feelings are. Are they there all the time or do they come and go?
Another question to ask yourself is how big of an impact these feelings are having on your life. Is feeling this way affecting your relationships with family and friends? Is your lack of motivation making it difficult to do things like stick to a regular routine or exercise? If sadness and low mood are impacting activities and things you used to enjoy, it could be a sign of depression.
While this condition is treatable, it’s important to get help if you’re concerned that you might have depression. If it ignored, it can get worse.
What to Do About Depression
Depression can be worrying. But there is plenty of support to help you. You aren’t alone and you deserve to feel better. Many people have managed to beat it with help and support.
Take the First Step to Recovery
The first step to treating your depression is to talk to someone you trust. It can be anyone from a friend or a relative to a teacher or a school nurse. It can be a comfort to know that you have support from someone you can depend on. It also means that if you have a bad day and your depression hits you hard, you have someone you can talk to about it.
Speak to Your Doctor
Seeing your doctor is important when you have depression. It’s a serious mental health condition and requires professional help. Although it can be awkward to talk to your doctor about how you are feeling, it’s important to remember that they are there to help you. They understand the difficulties you’re facing, and they can help you find the best treatment. Your doctor might prescribe medication like anti-depressants or refer you to a counsellor. Or a combination of these treatments might work best for you.
Make the Most of Online Resources
There are helplines that offer information and advice to young people struggling with depression. You can contact organisations like the Samaritans, The Mix or Childline if you need to talk to someone. These services are a great resource if you’re in need of help or support. They are also a great place to turn if you don’t feel like you have anyone you can talk to face to face.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re suffering, everything feels difficult. From getting out of bed in the morning to eating healthy foods, it can be hard to get motivated. But taking care of yourself is a big part of your recovery. It can be tempting to skip meals because depression can affect your appetite. So, make sure that you’re choosing healthy foods and eating three meals a day.
It’s also important to exercise. Getting your body moving is not only good for your physical health but it can help to improve your mood too. Try to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. This will help your body get into a routine and get plenty of rest.
Everything feels like more of a challenge when you have a mental health condition. Even socialising with friends or getting up in the morning can feel like it’s hard work. But this is a normal side effect of this condition. So, don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re finding things challenging. Be kind to yourself. With time and support, it is possible to overcome depression and get back to your normal self.