A friend of mine was hosting a number of young people recently who were visiting for a 21st birthday party. At breakfast the following day, the students were openly chatting about hangovers, relationships and many topics relevant to their generation. Eventually the conversation moved towards their state of mind.
What truly shocked and saddened me when I heard this recount, was that a vast majority of these party-goers were currently being prescribed anti-depressants. When I mentioned this in a later conversation with two friends ( who incidentally are G.P.s ) they agreed very matter of factly, that this situation was the norm as there is not enough support out there for people with mental health issues; and particularly for young people.
“I say I’m fine.
But on the inside I am screaming out for help.”
Food for thought :
- 1 in 10 young people have an eating disorder.
- 1.6m 25 year olds are currently diagnosed with Depression ( this excludes all those who are suffering in silence )
- In every classroom there are statistically 3 children who are self harming
Whilst volunteering with Childline, I have heard legions of young people saying “I’m Depressed,” without even understanding what Depression really is. Self diagnosis is not always a wise approach. (They tell us never to Google minor ailments, for a good reason. Otherwise we end up blowing things out of all proportion and we end up giving ourselves 6 months to live!)
Depression Does not define you.
Just remember Depression Does not define you.
Depression is an illness and really should be treated as such.
You might be experiencing Depression – but this doesn’t mean that You ARE Depressed. Just like those who have Chicken Pox … it does not mean that they ARE Chicken Pox. Make Sense ?
So let’s go back to the drawing board.
What is Depression?
For years we’ve been told that a healthy body is vital for our overall wellbeing. But only recently, have we woken up to the fact that a healthy mind is equally important ( If you ask me … even more so )
Having a healthy brain ensures all areas of our life are working as they should be :
- performance at work and school
- physical health
- coping strategies
Mental health problems occur when the brain has difficulty working correctly. Sometimes the brain can get used to working this way and may show no signs of going back “to normal”. When this starts creating problems in everyday life – then it starts becoming an issue.
These problems change the way you think – hence affecting how you feel and the way you behave.
Depression is just one example of a mental health problem.
What does Depression feel like?
Here are a number of tell-tale signs :
- Feeling unhappy most of the time ( easing a little in the evenings )
- Difficulty maintaining focus and making decisions
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of agitation and frustration
- Very little interest in life
- Little regard for personal hygiene
- Feelings of exhaustion ( no energy )
- Marked fluctuations in appetite ( either eating very little or far too much )
- Difficulty in falling asleep and/or waking too early
- Social anxieties
- Low self-confidence
- Suicidal thoughts
Have I got Depression – or am I just feeling crap?
You may recognise some of these symptoms. But, invariably – if you have been feeling down for just a couple of weeks – chances are it may not be Depression. Don’t jump to that conclusion, just yet.
Q1 : How Long have I been feeling this way?
It is perfectly normal to feel up and down every so often. The problems arise if these feelings last longer than a month.
Q2 : Is this affecting my life?
If you are able to muddle through … then, Well Done – keep going. You WILL get through this. However, if you feel that you have ground to a halt and you just aren’t getting involved in your own life – then you really should take notice.
Q3 : If something good happens – Do I still feel bad?
Does your mood adjust if something positive happens? If nothing can get you out of feeling down – then you may need some more help.
How do I avoid the Pitfalls?
a ) Be kind to yourself and avoid the negative self-talk.
“I’m rubbish – I should be feeling better by now.”
This may be a slow process – so just take baby-steps. One day at a time. Something as simple as making your bed and taking a shower might be all you can manage. That’s OK
Depression is not a sign of weakness. Winston Churchill called Depression “The Black Dog.” Watch a video : HERE : Showing how to live life with “The Black Dog.”
b ) Look after yourself.
By being fit and healthy – you are better equipped to deal with the challenges that life throws at you.
HERE : is a blog post : 10 tips to deal with Social Anxiety : There are some great pieces of advice that you can follow regarding looking after yourself.
c ) Express Gratitude.
By training your brain to look more positively then you gain a great sense of perspective. Note that the brain cannot be depressed and grateful at the same time. It just doesn’t work.
HERE : is a blog post : What is the Secret to Gratitude? : Again, this blog post has some great pointers that might help.
Imagine this …
Your Mind is the Bright Blue Sky.
Your mental health is represented by the clouds …
Sometimes they are light & fluffy and pass on by relatively quickly
Other times they are heavy and hang around for a bit.
On occasion they monopolise the sky – so all you can see is grey and it might feel really oppressive.
But amongst all this : REMEMBER : This is temporary. The Blue Skies are still there.
Depression is not a sign of weakness.
It means that you have been strong for far too long.
Depression does not define you. Just like your exam results … your relationships … your job, do not define you.
You are a fantastically strong and capable person – who may just have Depression … that rears it’s ugly head, once in a while.
Studies show that 4 in 5 people get better in time – without any help at all. But it does take time and patience. Some people choose to seek outside help – so that they can start feeling better, sooner. If you feel like you need a helping hand, then please get in touch.
Disclaimer : Please Note : I am NOT medically trained : If you have any concerns about your mental health ( or that of someone close to you ) please seek medical advice.
Much Love 💕