What is depression?
Everyone can feel down or low sometimes - it's part of life. Usually these feelings soon pass. But if you get 'stuck' in feelings of extreme sadness for weeks or months you may be depressed. It's a real illness and can make life very difficult. The good news is that depression can be treated. And once you feel better, there are ways to stop depression from repeatedly coming back. One of these things is a meditation-based approach: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy at Breathing Space.
Do I have depression?
Depression affects around 1 in 5 people at some point in their lives. The most common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad, helpless or hopeless most of the time
- Tiredness and lethargy
- Restlessness and anxiety
- Changes in appetite (eating much less or more than usual)
- Inability to get pleasure from the things you usually enjoy
- Sleeping problems (much less or more than usual)
- Low self-confidence and self-esteem
- Poor concentration and indecisiveness
- Irritability and anger
If you experience quite a few of these symptoms for a long period in a way that interferes with your normal life, you may be depressed. Like a lot of illnesses, depression is on a spectrum. You might experience short periods of the 'blues'. Over time these can then develop into a clinical illness. So even if you're only experiencing a few of the symptoms above, if they don't seem to be going away it could be worth thinking about getting some help.
What causes depression?
- Depression can involve both biological changes in the way the brain works and psychological changes in the way we think and feel.
- There is rarely a single cause for someone's depression - it's usually due to a variety of psychological, physical and social factors.
- Some people are more prone to getting depressed, and this can be due to both inherited biological factors and life experiences.
- People may experience depression first after a difficult life event, such as a bereavement or the ending of a relationship. After recovering from this, they may find themselves getting depressed again. Each time a depressive episode happens it may have less to do with a life event, and instead become a kind of 'habit' linked to negative thinking. It is possible to tackle this habit of negative thinking and prevent depression from coming back.
Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy at Breathing Space
Treatments for depression
Links for information and advice about depression