Did you know that one in seven Australians will experience depression in their lifetime? (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2007).
This equates to over one million Australians every year challenged by depression, which can last months, or even years if left untreated. Facing depression can feel scary and isolating, so it is important to know that you are not alone in this experience, and it does not have to be forever.
At some point in everybody’s life we inevitably hit periods of feeling down. It’s a natural and an unavoidable part of being human. Various experiences like the loss of a loved one, loss of employment, relationship issues and times of general high stress can leave us vulnerable to the lows of depression. Regardless of whether you’re just having the odd dip in mood or in fact experiencing long periods of a low mood, it’s key to know that the condition is treatable.
The term depression most commonly refers to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD; more information below), though there are actually a number of depressive disorders. These include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, persistent depressive disorder and substance induced depressive disorder, to name a few (American Psychiatric Association, 2022). Here we use depression to refer to MDD.
While in the depths of depression, the way you think, feel and act is likely to be affected. The routine of day-to-day activities can seem overwhelming and impossible, inevitably impacting your work, study, social life, and health. Struggling with daily life can make you feel inadequate, guilty and frustrated; it can make you question your self-worth and doubt your true capabilities. Feelings of hopelessness and despair can make it feel unbearable to try. It’s so frustrating to be feeling miserable day in day out, sucking the hope out of life. Intrusive thoughts that “I’m a failure”, “it’s my fault” or “nothing good ever happens to me” can plague your mind, making you believe this is your reality. It’s not. While the chances of waking up tomorrow chipper, positive, and ready to take on the world is not likely, that doesn’t mean that hope is lost, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t get there. It may take time, and effort, but depression doesn’t have to be forever.
The pattern of thoughts that plague those experiencing depression is like mental torture. It’s physically taxing on your body, which can leave you feeling tired, sick and ‘burnt out’. You may find yourself exhausted even after a good night’s sleep, and your appetite may rise or fall. This emotional and physical burden can make you lose interest in what was once enjoyable, and you may find yourself becoming withdrawn from family and friends. If you start to notice this or any the symptoms of depression (see below), it might be time to think about seeking help from therapist. While this may be easier said than done, especially when you are depressed, it is worth it. The effort to make an appointment for counselling is all it takes to put you on a trajectory toward a finer life. From that very first appointment you may start the feel an improvement within yourself and this will develop in the sessions that follow. Admittedly, there must always be room for the ups and downs of therapy and the treatment may not necessarily progress in a straight line which can be frustrating as we experience setbacks. Regardless, by simply sharing how you are feeling with an expert, you can start to feel an improvement and with the right therapist. That initial improvement will lead you out of woods and back toward and fulfilling and meaningful life.
The sooner you reach out and press play on the recovery process, the sooner you can get back to being yourself again.
Below are the symptoms that someone with MDD may exhibit as taken from the most current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2022). If many of these symptoms stand out as typical of yourself or someone you love, don’t hesitate to get in touch to find out more about depression and what the Plenish team can offer to help reduce these symptoms and their effect in your life.
- Depressed mood for most of the day (e.g., empty, sad, hopeless),
- Lack of interest or enjoyment in all or most activities for most of the day,
- Significant weight loss (not linked to dieting) or weight gain,
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite,
- Difficulties falling and staying asleep or excessive sleeping,
- Psychomotor changes such as slowed speech, fixed gaze, slumped posture and flat facial expressions,
- Fatigue of loss of energy,
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt,
- Trouble thinking, concentrating or decision-making,
- Thoughts of death and suicidal ideation or planning.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, we want to hear from you. Please reach out and take your first step toward your future self. We can provide effective therapies for depression that are backed by extensive research in the field of psychology. In particular, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are the most supported by research for mild to moderate depression, though supportive therapy (ST) and psychoeducational intervention (PEI) are also considered effective. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) along with CBT and PEI are considered amongst the most effective for maintenance and prevention of depression after remission (symptoms of depression have significant reduced or no longer meet the criteria for MDD).
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) addresses the unfounded beliefs and distorted thought patterns that drive depressive symptoms. CBT challenges these beliefs and cognitions and aims to resolve or reverse them, effectively changing the way we think to facilitate more constructive thoughts and behaviours.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT) on the other hand, identifies influencing factors of the depressive symptoms such as loss, grief, social isolation or difficulties in social interactions and reduce these driving influences. That may be through the facilitation of mourning (in the case of loss or grief), aiding with the recognition of emotions, or building social skills to reduce social dysfunction.
If you have lost your love for life or have noticed a significant change in your mood or function, it is worthwhile to seek support. At Plenish we can provide you with the support you need to get back to feeling yourself, or maybe even get you feeling better than ever. Feel free to contact us to get more information or go straight ahead and book in now.
American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Depressive Disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed., text rev.).
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2007). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results. ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/health/mental-health/national-study-mental-health-and-wellbeing/2007.