When depression takes hold, life can seem bleaker, harder, and more challenging on many different levels – even things we usually take for granted like getting up and on with our day or meeting friends. Let’s explore more about what depression is, what causes it, and tips on how you can live with it and overcome it.

 

What is depression?

In its broadest sense, it’s a low mood disorder that can affect anyone at any time in their lives. It’s not unusual for people to experience feeling down, unhappy, or unmotivated for a day or two for any number of different reasons. But real depression can make you feel all these things, as well as a sense of hopelessness or despair, continuously for weeks, months, or even years.

 

There’s still a certain amount of skepticism around depression, that it’s not a genuine health condition. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Depression is very real and affects the mental and physical health of men, women, and children of all ages. Mental Health First Aid suggests that “24% of women and 13% of men in England are diagnosed with depression in their lifetime”. And it can often occur alongside other common mental health issues.

 

But despite a minority of people claiming sufferers should just ‘get over it’ or ‘snap out of it’, depression has real symptoms that can affect a sufferer greatly. Whether levels are diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe, it’s a mental illness that’s more common than many people realise.

 

Different types of depression

Though depression is a complex mental illness affecting people in different ways, we’re often led to believe that ‘depression’ is a single diagnosis. But like many other mental and physical illnesses, there are different types, all with different stages and levels of severity.

 

Some of these can occur more regularly than others or in different circumstances, but here are some of the more common types of depression according to Mental Health UK:

  • Recurrent
    This is diagnosed if you’ve suffered from at least two separate depressive episodes with similar symptoms each time.
  • Reactive
    Depression can be caused by specific life events or circumstances, such as death, divorce, or work or financially-related stress, and how you react to those situations.
  • Dysthymia
    A diagnosis if you suffer from a mild, yet continuous, depression that lasts over two years. This can also be diagnosed as ‘persistent depressive disorder’ or ‘chronic depression’.
  • Manic Depression
    A common term for the diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder where sufferers experience periods of low depression with separate periods of extreme highs.
  • Psychotic Depression
    Sufferers who experience severe depression can sometimes get hallucinations or delusions where they might see or hear things that aren’t real.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    A depression affecting certain people during extended periods of cold or wet winter months, where energy levels and motivation can drop.

 

Symptoms of depression

If you’re experiencing low moods or symptoms of depression for more than a couple of weeks, it could have an impact on how you live your life. Whether your symptoms are because of a specific event or for no apparent reason, a call or visit to your GP will allow them to make a diagnosis for you.

Depressive symptoms can vary, and you may not be experiencing many of them, but they can affect you physically as well as mentally. And while there are different types of depression, some of the symptoms are similar. Here are some common symptoms, as cited by the NHS:

Mental symptoms

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless or helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • a lack of motivation or interest
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having thoughts about self-harming or suicide

Physical symptoms

  • moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • a change in appetite or weight
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep

 

How to deal with Depression?

Whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, depression is treatable. Though therapy and prescription drugs can be made available for depression, there are plenty of self-care plans and lifestyle changes that can be implemented too. Sufferers can often make a full recovery or lead a full life while learning to live with depression and managing their symptoms successfully. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Create a support network
    Whether your support comes from a one-to-one therapist in person or online, a group therapy session, or just extended contact and socialising with trusted family or friends, the importance of a support network that’s there for you – and listens – shouldn’t be underestimated.
  • Be kind to yourself
    When suffering from depression and any of its symptoms, there’s a temptation to blame yourself for feeling that way. Believing this can quickly get the better of you. But acknowledging how you feel and having compassion for yourself can help.
  • Reduce your stress
    Stress produces a hormone in your body called Cortisol. Over time, too much Cortisol will cause problems that can be heightened when you’re already suffering from depression. Learning mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help reduce your stress levels.
  • Get a regular sleep pattern
    The amount of sleep you get has a direct influence on your mood. By using your bedroom only for sleeping at night time, you’ll learn to associate that room with relaxation. Also, turn off your devices before going to bed and have a fixed time to go to bed and get up each day.
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle
    Exercise and a good diet are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet should include regular meals with a healthy balance of fruit, veg, and fish, drinking more water while reducing (or cutting out) alcohol, caffeine, and fizzy drinks.

Exercise can also help your mood as well as helping with any sleeping problems you might have. Try and incorporate regular exercise into your day by walking, running, cycling, playing sport, or even gardening.

 

Clearfocus training courses

While depression can be a result of many different causes and symptoms, according to a report from the Health and Safety Executive, “the rate of work-related stress, depression, and anxiety has increased in recent years, with cases in 2019/20 totalling 828,000”.

As specialist workplace mental health and communications training providers, we know how work-related stress and depression affects people. This is why we provide a range of workplace mental health and communications training courses to help all staff and managers.

Our Mental Health Training For Employees course especially gives staff the tools they need to cope and deal with any workplace mental health issues that could lead to depression. Similarly, our Mental Health Training For Managers course delivers targeted help for workplace managers to help themselves and their teams.

For more information and to book your online or in-person course, call us today on 07831 119 941 or email us at info@clearfocustraining.co.uk

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Contact us today to find out how we can help you start the process towards positive change in your workplace.

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