Q: DEPRESSION! What is it? How do I know if I have it? How can I get over it?
A: Depression is often described as a feeling of sadness, apathy (not caring about anything), or low energy. Everyone feels this way sometimes but when these feelings last for weeks or longer, and there is no medical cause, you might begin to suspect depression.
Some of the symptoms of depression include:
·lack of energy
·feelings of worthlessness, discouragement, hopelessness
·lack of interest in life, sex, socializing
·feelings of sadness, tearfulness
·feelings of nervousness, irritability, anger
·not sleeping well/ sleeping all the time
·difficulty making decisions
·lack of appetite/ eating obsessively
You do not need to experience all of these symptoms in order to be suffering from depression. Your doctor or a psychotherapist may be able to help you with your diagnosis.
Depression is a real illness and should not be ignored. It is now generally believed that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. If you or a close family member have ever suffered from depression, you are more likely to experience depression. The most effective treatment for depression is psychotherapeutic counselling, sometimes supplemented with medication. Our thinking processes can effect our brain’s chemical reaction and so, counselling that deals with the root causes and that teaches new ways of dealing with life, is very effective. Although today’s medications are very effective with few side effects, medication alone is not as successful as a combination of counselling and medication.
It is important, when dealing with an illness such as depression, that you work with a qualified psychotherapist who will work in conjunction with your physician. Unqualified “counsellors” can cause harm.