"The only real voyage of discovery....consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes'  (O'Brien,1948)

Depression

What is Depression?

The word Depression is used by people to describe a number of feelings such as; sadness, frustration and tiredness. However, Depression as a clinical word is used to describe someone experiencing everyday ‘low’ moods, which are more intense, last longer than two weeks and start to impact on everyday functioning.

Depression is a mood disorder consisting of changes in mood. Those experiencing mild Depression may notice changes within their mood throughout the day (some short lived happier moments), whereas those experiencing major Depression may experience low mood persistently. Depression is described as a sense of doom and gloom and an inability to see any good in life.

Depression and thoughts

Negative thoughts play an important role in Depression.  Someone experiencing depression may only be able to think about their current life as it is. Thoughts of letting people down, not achieving the things they need/want to, not having anything to look forward to and so on. This type of thinking can leave people with feelings of guilt, hopelessness, frustration and sadness, which prevents the required action for change. The cycle of Depression can be very difficult for many to break alone.

How does Depression affect someone physically?

Depression affects people in different ways. But some of the common physical symptoms of depression are;

  • Sleeping too much, or disturbed sleep pattern

  • Changes in appetite

  • Loss of energy and motivation

  • Loss of concentration in everyday tasks

  • Unexplained physical pain

  • Loss of sex drive

  • Moving or speaking slowly

Symptoms of Anxiety are also common with those experiencing Depression.

Depression and behaviour

The symptoms already discussed above have a huge impact on how Depression alters a person’s behaviour patterns. Because of the negative thoughts and feelings a depressed individual is experiencing, their behaviours are very likely to change in accordance with these.

For example:

  • Avoiding contact with family and friends

  • Not taking part in social activities

  • Loss of interest in hobbies and interests

  • Loss of motivation in everyday home tasks

  • Struggling at work

Depression can be a ‘Vicious Cycle’ that is hard to break alone. We will discuss this further in upcoming modules.