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RESPONSES: “Depression” – Anna T.

Hi Kelly,

I really need some advice. This year has been a really difficult year for me and I’ve just felt really down for no particular reason. I think I’m depressed but I’m not sure? I’m really struggling with basic things in my routine like showering and I’ve heard that could mean I’m depressed. How do I find out? Are there any other signs I should look for?

I hope you can help!

– Anna T.


Dear Anna,

I’m really sorry to hear you’ve had a difficult year. Thank you for reaching out. This has been a tremendously challenging year in so many ways and whilst I don’t know the details of your situation, I know that the obstacles and events that have been faced this year can have negative effects on our mental health.

If you’re suspecting that you’re depressed then there is clearly something that doesn’t feel right for you, and this is the important thing to bear in mind. You mention there is no particular reason for you feeling down and that you’re struggling with routine actions such as showering. There are many symptoms of depression, for example a lack of enjoyment for things you usually enjoy and feelings of helplessness. Everyday routine things like sleep and eating patterns can also be disturbed, you may lack focus on mental tasks and experience varying energy levels, for example feeling overly tired. There are more symptoms that can manifest, and everyone will experience depression differently.

Please know that depression doesn’t need a specific cause. If you are not feeling yourself, I would first advise speaking to your GP so you can discuss how you’re feeling, and this can be the first route into appropriate therapy. Medication is an option to help you resume everyday functioning if required, but this will depend on your GP’s advice. You could also look to private therapy if you wished, after your GP consultation.

I like to take a holistic approach to mental health, and I believe that achievable daily steps and actions can help us to positively nurture it, alongside the appropriate professional help. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, getting regular fresh air and exercise, getting sufficient sleep (this varies person to person but 7-8 hours should be about ideal) and maintaining a supportive social network can all be very beneficial. It may be helpful to outline one thing in each of these areas that you could do each day that would suit you, for example, a daily walk. Opening up to someone you trust can also be a relief if you feel this is something you can do.

Depression is complex, but I think the main thing to focus on is that you’re feeling unlike yourself and are aware that something is going on. Well done for recognising and acknowledging this. There is help available and I’d urge visiting your GP to be your first step. If you ever feel unable to cope or very overwhelmed, please don’t hesitate to call a service like The Samaritans – free on 116 123.

I hope this answer is useful and wish you the very best.

Best wishes,
Kelly

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