Sometimes referred to as a “black cloud,” depression is a debilitating psycho-social disorder that affects approximately 1 in 7 of all Australians aged between 16 and 80. It can have an impact on many areas of your life including work, social, and intimate relationships.
Depression doesn’t mean just the normal feelings of sadness that everyone experiences when life gets difficult. It can be sadness that doesn’t go away, or a loss of interest or pleasure in the things you used to enjoy, plus a range of other changes in the way you feel, think or act.
If these feelings last for more than 2 weeks, it could be depression. If you think you could be depressed, the first step to getting better is talking to someone about it. If you feel life is not worth living, you need to get help immediately by calling the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and/or your GP.
Common symptoms of depression include:
- low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy;
- a change in your weight or appetite (an increase or a decrease);
- insomnia, or sleeping more;
- feeling restless or slowed down;
- fatigue or loss of energy;
- loss of sex-drive;
- feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt;
- problems concentrating or making decisions;
- less ability to control emotions such as pessimism, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety;
- pronounced mood swings throughout the day;
- recurrent thoughts of death, or thinking about or attempting suicide.
Depression counselling can help by:
- enhancing understanding and development of adaptive coping strategies
- developing insight into life patterns that may lead to repeated negative experiences including depression
- identifying negative beliefs about self, others and the world and restructuring these thoughts and core beliefs
- addressing traumatic past experiences that impact on the present
- managing the events that lead to the depressed mood
- creating strategies to improve social support networks
- learning meditative, relaxation, and other techniques to improve quality of life