How does depression feel?

We have all felt sad, dull and unhappy at some point in life. Life transitions can make us feel sad. For example, losing a loved one, moving away from your family and friends to a new city. The sadness subsides and eventually goes away as we process the change, make new friends and form a support system. It is normal to feel sad at times in life. Feeling sad does not always mean we are experiencing depression.

Depression can be triggered by stress, financial problems, unemployment, death of a loved one, divorce, childhood trauma. It could also be inherited. It might be caused due to hormonal changes. For example, changes in thyroid levels, menopause, post-pregnancy.  

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How will you know if you are experiencing depression?

You can ask yourself the following questions:

How intense are the sad feelings?

Depression is much more intense than having a bad day.

For how long have you been feeling this way?

An upset mood gets better in a few days. Depression lasts for a very long time

How much does it interfere with your life?

Feeling sad, unhappy or having a bad day will not prevent you from taking care of your kids, going to work or going  to school, but depression will.

Symptoms of depression

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Depression is much more than feeling sad. It is a feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness.

Depression makes it difficult to find joy in doing things you once liked.

Getting out of bed in the morning feels like a struggle.

Depression takes us away from our friends, family, work, school. It makes us lonely.

Depression takes away our motivation, energy, willingness.

Makes us feel like everything is our fault.

Depression disrupts our sleep.

It's difficult to concentrate and make decisions.

We find ourselves getting angry and irritated very easily.

Every little task feels exhausting, we feel physically drained and our body has a heavy feeling.

There are unexplained aches and pains in the body.

Treatment for depression

Depression prevents you from listening to your inner voice. It feels like we are in a thick fog and don’t seem to be able to focus or concentrate on anything. All we can think of is how unwanted we are and how helpless our situation is. A loop of this negative self talk goes on in our mind.

Approaches to treating depression vary from individual to individual. A variety of techniques are used in the treatment for depression. Psychodynamic approach is used to identify triggers and patterns. Externalization technique is used to separate depression from the individual. Mind-body integration, being in the present moment is attained through mindfulness and meditation.  CBT is used to work with the feelings of hopelessness, helplessness lack of motivation. Techniques of self compassion is used to address sense of worthlessness. Studies have shown that a combination of medication and psychotherapy have proven to be a successful approach in treating depression.

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