Feeling Blue? Help is at hand.
By Chris Gazenbeek, SDA State Secretary
We are leading much more hectic lifestyles these days with the stress and pressure of trying to juggle work, family and/or study – there never seems to be enough hours in a day or days in a week.
At some point we all suffer from some form of stress in our lives and if severe enough, it can sometimes lead to depression. It is not something you can control by yourself; therefore, it is important to know that help is available.
Depression is a mental illness which around 20 per cent of Australians will experience at some stage in their lives. Mental illness is treatable and no longer has the stigma that used to be associated with it.
You may not be aware of it but you probably already know someone who has depression – a friend, relative or work colleague. With diagnosis and treatment, a normal life can be had.
If you have been diagnosed with depression, you may wonder why it happened to you. The fact is anyone can get depression.
Everyone feels sad or worried at times but if these feelings last for more than a few weeks or they start to interfere with your everyday life, it’s time to seek help.
Depression is a medical condition and significantly affects the way someone feels, causing a persisting low mood that can have a serious effect on a person’s ability to carry on with their everyday life.
There are various forms of depression ranging from mild to severe, and it can be an illness in its own right or a feature of other illnesses. It is natural for people to feel sadness sometimes, but depression is a consistent and constant feeling.
Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they have an illness and do not seek help. Depression has a variety of symptoms and may affect people in different ways. You may feel:
- Extremely sad, anxious, agitated or tearful;
- Find it hard to concentrate or make decisions;
- Lose interest in things you usually enjoy;
- Have no motivation and become withdrawn;
- Move and talk slowly;
- Sleep badly, or sleep excessively and still feel tired;
- Experience early morning waking or insomnia;
- Lose or gain weight;
- Think seriously about suicide, feel guilty, feel hopeless and that life is not worth living;
- Worry without reason about physical complaints.
With early diagnosis and effective treatment, the outcomes are very good with symptoms reduced or even eliminated. Effective treatment can involve medication, individual therapy and community support or a combination of these.
Some depression sufferers may need medication, short or long term, to assist the brain in restoring its usual chemical balance and help control symptoms.
Diagnosis and treatment can mean quality of life. Remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel.