Depression can affect anyone at any stage of their life.
You may be an introvert or an extrovert, socially active or shy, youthful or elderly, male or female, wealthy or poor.
Many people might begin to wonder if there is something really wrong with them. One typical fear is that they might be going crazy.
The main sign is a persistent low mood and the inability to enjoy things you used to. This is normally accompanied by a lack of energy and lethargy, which make even the smallest task seem hard. If our mood is low it becomes easy to see everything in a negative light. All obstacles become insurmountable and a common thought will be “what’s the point?”
Sleep patterns are likely to be disrupted and appetite is likely to be affected so that we are unlikely to get the nutrients our body needs. Interacting with other people may also become harder.
There is not one specific cause of depression. Some may be genetically prone, others may have experienced major stressful events or a traumatic loss. Low self-esteem can also make someone more prone, as can a sense of failure.
Depression can be overcome. One way is to break down tasks which at first appear insurmountable into smaller parts. Tackling your diet and sleep is also going to give you more energy to address negative thought patterns. Try planning easy, nutritious meals for the whole week so that you don’t have to decide what you are going to eat every day. Fitting a form of exercise into your daily routine can also help improve your mood.
Most people find it helpful to enlist the support of a counsellor, who can guide them through important changes to their life and encourage them to address the negative thought patterns which can make it difficult to overcome depression.
Anna Dallavalle is a counsellor working with individuals and couples and has a private practice in Morpeth. For information visit www.steppingstonesne.co.uk