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Dealing with depression

Signs of depression

Do you have any of the following? Check off what is appropriate to you:

 depressed mood or sadness most of the time (for what may seem like no reason)
 feeling tired a lot
 can’t seem to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure
 isolate from friends and family
 irritability, anger, or anxiety
 hard to focus
 major changes to your weight
 major changes to your sleep
 feelings of guilt or worthlessness
 aches and pains (even though nothing is physically wrong)
 pessimism and indifference (not caring about anything in the present or future)
 thoughts of death or suicide

If you checked off 5 or more of these symptoms most of the time for 2 weeks or longer, you are probably experiencing depression. How did you do?

What is depression?

Depression is a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.
~ Webster

Types of depression

There are a few major categories of depression:
a. Major depression – more severe but short term
b. Dysthymia – less severe but longer term
c. Bipolar disorder (or manic depressive) – it is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression)

Causes of depression

There is no single cause for depression. Various factors maybe involved:
a. Genetics: possible connection to inherited genes but not conclusive
b. Loss / Trauma: e.g. death of a close family member, divorce, bullying, etc.
c. Chemical Changes: when certain chemicals called neurotransmitters are not available in sufficient quantities
d. Hormonal Changes: conditions such as hypothyroidism and menopause can possibly change hormonal levels causing depression in some people
e. Family and social environment: for some, a negative family event such as abuse can lead to depression

Practical Suggestions in dealing with depression

1. Ask for a physical examination from your family doctor: Your doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and medication if required.
2. Begin counselling: Counselling can help you with your past hurt and pain since they are usually deeply rooted in your depression.
3. Change your negative self talk: Slowly changing your negative self talk day by day.
4. Develop healthy habits: Some areas include eating, sleeping, and exercising.
5. Establish meaningful relationships: Seek out family and friends that will support you.
6. Fill your life with positives: Do things like laughing, exercising, going to a movie, enjoying a ballgame, helping the needy, etc.

Further Resources

Helpguide: Depression
This site provides helpful info on depression.

CAMH: Depression
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers relevant information on depression.

© Herman Chow

D.Min, RP, RMFT, Certified EFT Therapist