Depression is experienced differently by different people but there are common features:
- Feeling low, sad, tearful and numb
- Avoiding people and situations (social isolation)
- Low motivation and poor concentration
- Feeling worthless, useless, self-blaming and perhaps suicidal
- Thinking negatively and seeing the worst in things
- Change in sleeping patterns and eating habits
- Loss of enthusiasm, interest and enjoyment
Sometimes depression is the reaction to a life event or sometimes it feels like it comes from nowhere. It is estimated that one in six people have a severe depressive episode at some time in life. In its milder form depression makes living life to the full seem difficult and less worthwhile. At its most severe it can be life-threatening.
Moving Out of Depression
Most people do recover from depression. Physical movement is said to be important to counteract the ‘in the head’ negative thoughts and ‘heaviness’ that accompanies depression so activities such as walking, dancing, swimming, etc are beneficial. It can be tempting to try to find release from depression by abusing drugs or alcohol but this can bring its own problems – it is important to look after yourself physically. It can be useful to challenge negative thinking that feeds depression – talking out thoughts and feelings can be useful. Sometimes medication can be helpful in managing depression.