Depression is a mental illness that is often defined as a persistent low mood. Yet the symptoms of depression can vary between people. Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Feeling ‘empty’ and numb
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Finding no pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of energy and motivation
When you may want to see your GP:
If depression is affecting your daily life, then you may want to consider seeing your GP as they can help you with this. They may be able to provide support through psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and/or medication.
Coping techniques that I have found to be useful in managing depression, which may also help you:
Self-CBT: This involves changing negative thoughts into more positive thoughts. For example, instead of thinking 'I am a failure', you could look back on your achievements and see otherwise. Even small achievements are important, such as getting out of bed - because some people with depression struggle to do this. Or, maybe you want to consider any qualifications you have, or some voluntary work you have done, or any time in your life where you have supported or helped another in some way. It takes time and practice, yet if you start to question and evaluate every negative thought that occurs due to depression, you can train your brain to see the positive side of your situation.
Evaluate your situation: I understand that this option may not be for everyone, especially those who suffer from severe depression – it’s just another technique that I have found personally useful and so hopefully you will too. This involves evaluating your life right now and to consider what you want to achieve in life, maybe to achieve your dream career, travel, get married, etc. and to see what you can do to work towards your dreams. This gives you something for your mind to focus on so you can try to be more productive and proactive in achieving your personal goals. Although, know your limits and don’t push yourself too hard. If you suffer from severe depression, know that even small steps are important - if you got out of bed today and that is often a challenge for you, then that’s already a great first step!
The ‘Stepping-Stone’ technique: This is something that I often use and like to think of when I’m feeling particularly down. I like to think of overcoming depression as stepping stones, with ‘Step 1’ meaning my challenge for today is to only do what I must that day (e.g. eat), and ‘Step 2’ to do another task (e.g. shower, little housework), etc. and I set myself goals to keep me going throughout the day. However, it’s always important to know that if on a particular day, I only achieve ‘Step 1’, then I know that that is okay because I simply didn’t feel up to doing anymore. Also, to motivate myself using this technique, I like to remind myself of the following: ‘Today, you're on step one, and one day you may make it all the way to the end of the stones. Some days you may fall off and have to go back a few, but that's okay: one day, you will reach your goal.’
I hope that you found this useful, feel free to comment down below if any or my coping methods helped you or if you would like to add some of your own. If you would like additional information and support, you may wish to check out my blog post ‘Mental Health Helplines and Resources’ for links to many support sites and helplines.
As always, please bear in mind that I am not a mental health professional or any other type of professional, this is a hobby for me and is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as any kind of advice. I am not liable for any consequences as a result of this information and if readers rely on any of the information on my blog, it is at their own risk. I cannot confirm that all information is correct, accurate or reliable. The information is true to the best of my knowledge, yet there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. This information isn’t intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have, or believe to have, a mental illness, please contact a mental health professional.
Note: This is not a picture of me and belongs to Wix.