Low Mood and Depression
Everyone has spells of feeling down, but depression is more than just spending a few days feeling sad or unhappy. If our low mood continues or becomes more severe, it can lead to depression. Depression can make you feel persistently sad and down for weeks or months at a time.
Is it serious?
While some people believe that depression is trivial or not a genuine health problem, it’s a real condition that affects around one in 10 people over the course of their lives. It impacts people of all genders and ages – including children. Studies show that around 4% of children in the UK between the ages of five and 16 are depressed or anxious.
With the right support and treatment, most people recover fully from depression.
Depression can build up gradually, so you may not realise how much it is affecting you.
If you have recognised any of these symptoms in yourself, you may be affected by depression. The NHS has a helpful self-assessment tool you could try.
Coping with Depression?
Dealing with depression can feel overwhelming, but remember that you don’t have to go through it alone. There are many different types of depression, so it’s important not to underestimate what you’re going through or to generalize your symptoms. Below are some ways to manage depression or low mood:
The effects of depression can be debilitating and it’s important to seek professional support if this is the situation for you. Your doctor will look at the best way to treat it, just as they would any physical ailment. For an idea of what types of therapies are available, you may find it useful to look at this section of the NHS website.
If you are feeling low or depressed and need to reach out for support, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Samaritans anytime, they have trained advisers that offer support through their helpline around the clock.
If you are caring for someone who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts more information can be found here.
Joining a support group can also be a great way to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. It can be difficult to reach out to others when you feel this way, but taking that step to join a community such as a walking group or online social support group may help to switch your mind to a more positive area of focus. We also offer Share and Learn sessions, which are held on Zoom and cover a range of topics from activities like dance and seated martial arts to arts, crafts, and wellbeing. You can also search for local groups using our local directory or contact your council or trust for details of what’s available in your area.
Making small lifestyle changes can also make a big difference in how you feel. Eating regular meals with a good variety of the main food groups and drinking the right fluids are important for maintaining a good mood. Too much caffeine or alcohol can cause your mood to plummet, so reducing your intake or cutting them out altogether could also help.
Time is often very limited when you’re caring, but try to take small chunks of time to do therapeutic exercises for yourself, such as 10 minutes of yoga or taking five conscious minutes to observe nature. Some people find practising mindfulness a helpful tool. You can find some useful mindfulness practices at: https://www.headspace.com
If you’re looking for more ideas on how to improve your well-being, check out our wellbeing hub or the mental health charity Mind’s website. And remember, the Hub of Hope is the UK’s leading mental health support database, providing information on local, national, peer, community, charity, private, and NHS mental health support and services all in one place for the first time. You deserve to feel happy and healthy, so don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it.
Keeping Well as a Carer
Depression is an illness that can make you feel low or sad and can lead you to no longer get pleasure from things you used to once enjoy. While many of us feel like this from time to time, depression is when these feelings last longer and are more extreme.
According to the Mental Health Charity, Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. Some people experience a temporary low, perhaps linked to bereavement, illness of a family member, redundancy, or divorce. But sometimes this can turn into depression if this sinking feeling lasts and doesn’t go away.
If you recognize any of the symptoms of depression in yourself, it’s important to seek help. You might feel hopeless, irritable, anxious, worried, or tearful, or you might feel unable to cope with everyday things that you would not have thought twice about in the past. Other symptoms may include: having no appetite, and not being able to sleep or concentrate. In extreme cases, you might even have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm. Sometimes, depression can build up gradually, so you may not realize how much it’s affecting you. If you think you might be affected by depression, the NHS has a helpful self-assessment tool you could try.
Remember, depression is an illness, just like flu or chickenpox, and there are many resources available to help you feel better. Don’t hesitate to talk to your GP, a counsellor, or someone you trust if you’re struggling. You don’t have to go through this alone.
You deserve to feel happy and healthy.
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