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Symptoms and causes of depression

If you experience depression then you know you can’t just snap out of it.  Especially if you’ve tried different techniques or been on anti-depressants or in counseling for a long time it’s easy to think that you’ve tried everything or that nothing will help. If you experience depression or know someone who does, don’t give up hope.

Common symptoms of depression

  • You feel sad or cry a lot, get irritated often and overreact, or you feel ‘nothing’ a lot of the time.
  • You feel guilty for no real reason; you feel like you’re no good; you’ve lost your confidence.
  • Life seems meaningless or like nothing good is ever going to happen again.
  • You don’t feel like doing a lot of the things you used to like and you mostly want to be left alone.
  • It’s hard to make up your mind. You forget lots of things, and it’s hard to concentrate.
  • You sleep a lot more, have trouble falling asleep or wake up really early in the morning.
  • Your eating habits change; you’ve lost your appetite or you eat a lot more.
  • You feel restless and tired most of the time.
  • You think about death, or feel like you’re dying, or have thought about committing suicide.

Causes of Depression

Although there are some common causes of depression, everyone is different:

  • Excessive and prolonged stress and anxiety 
  • Unresolved emotional issues  
  • Deep seated beliefs and feelings of unworthiness 
  • Genetic / hereditary causes
  • Unfulfilled dreams and a lack of purpose
  • Chemical imbalances or a lack of vital nutrients in our bodies

The reasons for depression are mostly unconscious and a lot of people don’t know why they feel depressed.  That’s ok – there is help!

Important and often misunderstood aspects of depression

  • Depression is not who you are.  It’s not that you are depressed, it is that you feel or experience depression; it is something separate from you.  Even making small changes in the way you think and speak about depression will help you start the process of uplifting your depression.
  • Depression is often an unconsciously learnt strategy.  This does not mean that you are actively or consciously ‘trying’ to be depressed or that it’s your fault, all in your head or that you’re making it up!
  • Even though this may seem counter-intuitive at first, your state of depression is trying to protect you from actual or perceived emotional, physical or other pain and discomfort.  It is not an enemy to be destroyed; it is an ally that’s simply not going about things in the best way.  The more you work with it rather than against it, the better your chance of working through it and enjoying life again.
  • The natural chemicals in our bodies and brains play a significant role in the way we feel.  Some people that experience depression have measurable chemical imbalances and others don’t.
  • For some, anti-depressants can be an important part of getting better, but anti-depressants mostly do not address the underlying issues that cause depression in the first place.

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