Its Blue Monday today! Apparently the third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. So are you feeling depressed? How do you know?
What does it mean to be depressed? Feeling sad, miserable, fed up?
How can you tell if you are depressed or just a bit down in the dumps – a bit blue?
Depression can mean different things to different people. What may seem simple and straightforward to one person may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for another. People often carry on with daily life often hiding the struggle they face. This can make things harder to cope with and accept or spot. Depression can affect anyone at any time it is not exclusive or discriminative.
There are many different types of depression such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postnatal depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression). Symptoms can range from low spirits, feeling numb, helplessness or isolation to name but a few. You may find you’re not enjoying activities you usually would. You could be funding it hard to concentrate on things, difficulty sleeping or have lost your appetite. Again symptoms may vary from person to person and you may not even realise yourself. It could be that they reoccur or are just persistent.
The cause of these feeling may not be transparent, it could stem from a loss you may have experienced, life changes that are everyday occurrences in general but may have just impacted on you significantly. It may be something that happened a long time ago but feelings have only just resurfaced.
So what can you do if you feel this way or you think someone you know may be suffering with depression?
Self-help – reconnecting with people and talk to someone if possible, you’d be surprised how many people out there are ready to listen and help you if they can. As they say …
As a friend you can help encourage your friend to seek the right kind of help for them. Show them you care and be there for them when they need you. Again little things can make a big difference and being patient with them can be important. As a friend or carer you too can seek support and advice from a GP or other appropriate organisations (some of which are listed below).
Keeping busy is important as breaking the negativity cycle and keeps your mind occupied on other more positive things. Take time to care for yourself. Every little helps and each step no matter how big or small can be a step in the right direction.
Alternative therapies are recommended to medication such as mindfulness or talking therapies. These can be accessed via your local health authority or via your GP or often at community/library centres. Art or music groups, community volunteering or the new popular colouring books are a great way to help you focus on the here and now.
It is important you seek advice from your GP if possible, they can help you monitor your situation and support your recovery. They may also discuss medication if they or you feel it is necessary.
For more information please seek professional help, below are some organisations that can also help;