Recognising Depression

Recognising Depression

With the world still under Coronavirus’s grip and with many of us coping with varying stages of lockdown restrictions, it would be weird if you weren’t feeling down, blue, isolated, and/or stressed out right now.  These are normal, healthy responses to a highly stressful and unprecedented situation.

But if you notice that these feelings tend to linger for the majority of the day, for the majority of your week, or impact your ability to function in daily life, you might be experiencing more a more serious mental health condition.

How to spot depression, in yourself or loved ones?

For a period of at least two weeks…

  • Have you felt down, blue, sad, or depressed for most of the day? For men, this might also look like increased feelings of irritability or anger
  • Do you find it’s hard to enjoy things you used to enjoy?
  • Have you noticed any significant changes in your appetite, more or less? Any weight gain or loss?
  • Are you sleeping significantly more or less? Taking longer to fall or stay asleep than normal?
  • Have you noticed whether your speech and/or movements are more slowed down, as if it feels like you’re moving through molasses or mud? What about the opposite – noticing you’re talking more rapidly or more fidgety than normal?
  • Do you feel fatigued all the time?
  • Have you noticed any increased feelings of worthlessness or guilt?
  • Has it been harder than normal to concentrate, make decisions, or think clearly?
  • Have you had any increase in thoughts about death or dying, plans or intentions to harm yourself or die by suicide? If you are feeling suicidal and in need of immediate support, call Lifeline at 13 11 14 to speak to a counsellor available 24/7.
  • Have you experienced these symptoms for the majority of the day, for the majority of at least two weeks?
  • Have these symptoms impacted your relationships, work life, social life, ability to look after yourself, and/or general wellbeing? Are you withdrawing from family or friends?  Using drugs, alcohol, or other addictions like gambling or gaming to help you cope with these feelings?

If you answered yes to many of these questions, you might be experiencing what is known as a major depressive episode, more commonly referred to as clinical depression.

Depression is a very common mental health condition that affects more than 264 million people of all ages worldwide1.  In Australia, approximately one million people will have depression in any given year2, with one in every 16 Australians currently experiencing depression right now3.  If you’re experiencing depressive symptoms, know that you are not alone.

Although depression is a serious mental health condition, the good news is that depression is treatable. 

Typically, depression is treated with either the support of a therapist, and/or medication.  Your therapist will work with you to develop an individualized plan to help you learn tools to identify and overcome unhelpful ways of thinking and doing that may be contributing to your depressive symptoms.  Many forms of treatment for depression demonstrate lasting effects, meaning long-term and sustained freedom from depressive symptoms.  To learn about psychological treatments for depression and the evidence for them, click here.

 

At Couples Therapy Melbourne, we are a group of therapists trained to support people heal from depression.  To see how we can help, contact us at 1300 783 184 or info@couplesmelbourne.com.

 

Also, check out these resources below for additional information and help for depression:

For supporting a partner with depression, click here or here.

For pre- or post-natal depression support, check out PANDA.

Additional helplines:

Lifeline, a 24-hour Australian crisis counselling service: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service, a 24-hour Australian counselling service: 1300 659 467

beyondblue, a 24-hour phone support and online chat service and links to resources and apps: 1300 22 4636

Kids Helpline, a free confidential 24-hour counselling for young people aged 5 to 18: 1800 55 1800

QLife (3pm – midnight), a national counselling and referral service for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and/or intersex.: 1800 184 527

 

References

1 GBD 2017 Disease and Injury Incidence and Prevalence Collaborators. (2018). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. DOI.

2 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 27

3 ABS National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (2008), p 28