Ask people about their image of depression and they may describe someone sitting staring at the wall all day long, hardly moving and feeling sad all the time. While some people may react like this, others may be quite agitated – full of tension and stress, unable to sit still, even having panic attacks.
Others may go through life putting on a mask, acting as if nothing in the world is the matter. Yet under the surface, they may feel that they can’t go through this hell for another day.
Some people describe depression as being like a heavy cloud that settles over them. Winston Churchill, who suffered severe bouts of depression all his life, described it as ‘a black dog’ that followed him everywhere.
You may find that there is some kind of pattern to your depression – maybe you feel worse first thing then pick up as the day goes on. You may have the opposite pattern. You may feel better as long as there are friends or family around. Perhaps the depression clears up for a while and then returns for no reason, or you may feel low all the time.
There are many different ways in which depression can show itself. As well as low mood and not enjoying things the way you used to, there can be problems with sleeping, concentrating, appetite or generally feeling bad about yourself. There can be many symptoms associated with depression such as feeling low, feeling bad about yourself, a lack of motivation to do things, a negative outlook on life etc.
We can take the following steps to manage our depression:
In order to hit your depression as hard as you can, you should first get to know as much as you can about it. In other words, you have to know your enemy. Working out the pattern is very important so think long and hard about your answers. If possible, ask those closest to you for their views. They may have knowledge which you do not have.
The way you talk to yourself is very important in keeping stress and depression going. Here are some common thoughts of people who are depressed:
When you are depressed, these thoughts (or thoughts like them) may be running through your mind a good deal of the time. You may not even be aware of these thoughts as they may have become like a bad habit. You may rarely challenge the thoughts. You just accept them even if no one else would believe them about you.
It is no wonder that depression gets a good grip of you if these thoughts are being allowed free rein. Anyone who felt worthless and who thought they would never feel better would feel depressed too. So the first job is to see if these thoughts are true and, if not, to challenge them and replace them with more accurate thoughts.
When you are depressed, you may stop doing things you did in the past because of lack of energy, lack of enthusiasm, fear etc. You may now feel that you are not doing anything useful. You may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of doing things which, in the past, would have been easy to do. This may now be part of the problem.
Managing the physical signs of stress is a really good way to manage depression, especially if used regularly. There is growing evidence of the positive effects exercise can have on depression. It may be that aerobic exercise is particularly good for this.
Aerobic activity refers to any exercise which burns up oxygen so things like dancing, swimming, walking, jogging, and badminton are aerobic exercises. Stretching and strengthening exercises, on the other hand, are not aerobic. These types of exercise are obviously still good for you but it is specifically aerobic exercise that has been found to be helpful in the management of depression.
If you would like support to manage your low mood please refer yourself by ringing 0191 282 6600 or complete our online referral form.
For more information about depression, please click here.
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Frequently asked questions
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