Depression

How would I know if I have Depression?

People sometimes develop depression after a major life event like splitting up from their girlfriend or boyfriend. But depression is more than just feeling upset or sad when stuff like this happens – it is a serious condition which makes coping with day-to-day life really hard and you feel down most of the time for more than two weeks.

The negative thoughts you might have with depression is the depression talking. If you are experiencing any of the thoughts displayed in the following table, particularly if you think your family and friends would be better off without you, seek support. Major depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and really needs help from a health professional. If you or a friend feels suicidal, don’t delay in seeking help. Go to the suicide information page and call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

The internet can be a good source of information, but beware of chat rooms where unqualified people may be offering advice about certain mental illnesses or advice about medication. Family and friends are alright to ask questions of, but it is better to get a professional diagnosis from your GP to make sure you get the right treatment and help.Take a look at the following table to get an idea of what depression feels like.

Depression

Specific characteristics Feeling sad, down or miserable most of the time or loss of interest or pleasure with the majority of usual activities, for a period of more than two weeks.

 

Physical symptoms Behaviours Thoughts
Constantly tired Stopping going out I’m such a failure
Changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss Withdrawing from friends and family I am utterly worthless
I am utterly worthless Ceasing activities once engaged in Why bother continuing to live?
Headaches Inability to concentrate Nothing ever goes right for me
Restlessness Self-medicating My family would be better off without me
Inability to complete tasks

Remember though, ALWAYS see a health professional like your doctor (GP) to confirm a diagnosis – don’t assume you have depression when it might be something else.

Go to this link to find out what is like to have depression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

For more information go to: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au and www.sane.org

Check out the APPs section for ideas on how to manage depression and ask your mental health professional (MHP) as well.

Not everyone develops severe or major depression which requires immediate assistance, but even if you feel mildly depressed some of the time, act and seek help from your GP or a mental health professional so that it doesn’t become a major issue. Counselling through a MHP and getting outside in the sun and undertaking a reasonable amount of exercise can help with depression.