Clinical depression or known as ‘major depression’ is a mental health condition that can completely knock an individual of their feet and is often looked at as just being ‘sad’ when in fact its so much more. Its something that consumes a person, makes them feel like they’re not worthy and gives them no hope and its a constant battle and its hard to pull through.

Most people go through life feeling a little down or fed up for a couple of days, but with depression you feel like this persistently and it can go on for weeks, even months. It is a genuine  condition, even though sometimes its looked at as not being one. It is a real illness and has real symptoms. 

It’s not a sign of weakness or something you can just stop by pulling yourself together!

What is depression?

Its a constant battle, feeling hopeless, feeling tired, sad, feeling like you’ve failed at everything. Sometimes the people that suffer are the ones you least expect, because they hide it so well. Depression is not always the person screaming out for help, its the silent person dealing with their battles and still trying to understand themselves. Its doing everything you can to hide it, because you don’t want to glorify it.

It’s sleepless nights and laying awake at 3 a.m. staring at the ceiling, its not knowing why your crying, you just feel like you need too. You want people around but you still push them away. It’s looking at social media and seeing everyone’s perfect life and even though you know its most likely fake, you still compare yourself to them constantly, wishing that you could be just like them, making you think worse about yourself. You’ll cancel plans last minute, because you don’t want to get out of bed and push yourself to go out.

Its a constant fear of happiness, because you know it won’t last long. Sleeping to much or too little, but no matter what you do, you’re still so exhausted. Grabbing food and eating to much of it, or simply not wanting to eat anything at all. It’s always saying you’re ‘fine’ even though your dying inside.

Its loving people far to much, because you can’t love yourself and when you loose that person, it hurts much more and its often the love you have for everyone in your life, that gives you the strength to pull through.

It can feel like your ‘drowning’ and you can’t escape.

How do you know you have depression?

It affects people in many different ways and comes with a variety of symptoms. These can range from feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to loosing interest in pretty much anything. Those things you used to enjoy in life, suddenly become non-existent.

The physical symptoms: Feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, various aches and pains.

Like many symptoms they can range from mild to severe. The ones that affect you slightly are feeling low in spirit, whilst severe depression can make you feel suicidal.

What causes depression?

It can be triggered by life-changing events, such as bereavement, loosing your job or perhaps a baby, can start the cycle of depression. Perhaps, family history could link to depression and that means the person is more likely to develop it. The ‘downward spiral’ as its often called leads to depression, this can be from a relationship ending badly, falling out with a close friend which makes you feel  depressed.

But the thing is you can get depressed for no obvious reason.

Stressful events: It takes time to cope with the death of a loved one, or a serious relationship meltdown, all these events are hard to deal with, which can lead the individual to feel  even more depressed and lonely, the reason for this is because you most likely won’t want to see friends or family and would prefer to spend time on your own.

Personality: Some certain personality traits, could trigger depression, these may be low self-esteem or being overly self-critical.

Giving birth: Women can be vulnerable to depression after pregnancy. The hormonal and physical changes, as well as the added responsibility of a new life, can lead to postnatal depression.

Loneliness: You may feel like its right to completely cut yourself off from the ones that are closed to you, but in fact its the worse thing you can do, they want to be there for you and you need to let them, because you can’t go through depression on your own and if you do it’ll make it worse and the feeling of loneliness will worsen.

Alcohol and drugs: Two common indications of depression taking its toll. When life is just constantly getting worse, people may turn to drinking far to much alcohol or abusing their body with drugs. You may of heard the term of ‘drowning your sorrows’ well doing this, is not recommended, alcohol is a big killer. The fact is that alcohol is actually categorised as a ‘strong depressant.’

Illness: Previously something may of happened to you, like a injury or you got something that was serious, or perhaps you’re still suffering with a life-threatening illness, such as heart disease or cancer. This can cause depression, constantly feeling like you can’t do anything right, the constant pain and tears, being so hard on yourself, when in fact you need to positive, no matter how hard it is.

Treating depression

Starting from lifestyle changes, talking to a therapist and taking the medication that is prescribed known as ‘antidepressants’. The treatment given will be based on whether you have mild, moderate or severe depression.

For more moderate to severe depression, it’ll be a case of different therapies and antidepressants. Which may lead to being referred to a mental health team for specialist treatment and prescribed medication.

Make some lifestyle changes that could benefit you in the long run, perhaps more exercise, cutting down on alcohol, giving up smoking and eating healthy. You may benefit from joining a support group, as sometimes it helps to talk to people who’ve been through what you have or are.

Living with depression is hard and no one should go through it alone, if you seriously feel like you’re suffering. Reach out and get help!

Call Papyrus on 0800 068 4141 or email them on pat@papyrus-uk.org

Call Rethink on 0300 5000 927 or visit their website to email them.

Call YoungMinds on 0808 802 5544 or visit their website to email them.

Call Mens Health Forum on call 020 7922 7908 or visit their website to contact them online.

Student Journalist