Depression is definitely an equal opportunity illness. It is a fact that not everyone is prone to depression, and that some people become more severely depressed than others – both of these facts have researchers busy trying to determine what makes some folks appear to be 'immune' to feelings of depression.
It's important to remember that we are all individuals and as such we experience depression differently. This is extremely important when considering treatment for depressed clients – there is no one-size fits all drug or counselling treatment. Each course of treatment, whether it is with anti-depressants or with counselling, requires that the individual client's needs be taken into account. This is one of the reasons I favour cognitive behavioural counselling when working with depressed client – cognitive behavioural involves working with the client to reach an understanding of the root cause of the problem and also to understand the behaviours this might cause and, in recognising why the client behaves in certain ways, to learn new ways of behaving or coping.
Not only do we all experience depression differently, but the causes and triggers are often different from person to person.
However, there are a number of symptoms that occur in depressed people, although not all symptoms occur in all people! But if you are experiencing two or more of the symptoms on this list, it is probably a good idea to check in with your doctor. I always recommend that a client has a health check up to determine if there is any underlying physical health problem that may be causing the symptoms before action is taken by way of anti-depressants, etc.
Here's the list:
A general feeling of sadness or loneliness that pervades daily life without any real reason, sometimes including sudden crying bouts.
Getting overly annoyed or frustrated over small details or incidents.
Not being able to sleep – or sleeping too much
Constant fatigue without an identifiable cause
Loss of appetite – or increased appetite, particularly when these lead to either unintended weight loss or gain
• Feeling bored or disinterested in hobbies or activities that are usually pleasurable
Loss of interest in sex
Feeling unable to relax even when there is no apparent reason for tension.
Inability to concentrate, even on usually relaxing pastimes such as reading.
Not wishing to participate in social events
Feeling indecisive, unable to 'think straight'. This is sometimes shadowed in one's physical actions being slowed or indecisive.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or losses and blaming oneself for things that go wrong.
Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
A sense of lack of physical wellbeing, aches and pains and vague illness.
While for many people depression is a dullness or greyness in life which they try to struggle through, for many it can become so severe that they become unable to function. Just getting out of bed in the morning feels too much, looking after personal hygiene, family needs, cooking a meal or going to work become obstacles that are insurmountable.
But the key to remember is that if you, or a loved one, experience depression there is help available. Consider the available treatments and decide whether counselling or anit-depressant medication may be best for you.
For many people, a short course of anti-depressants coupled with a longer period of supportive counselling and will offer long-term relief from depression.