Clinical depression is a severe mental health condition affecting every aspect of your life. It can cause persistent hopelessness, sadness, and losing interest in activities that used to bring joy. If you are experiencing any of the following signs, it may be a sign that you are suffering from clinical depression:
Persistent sadness or emptiness
One of the most common signs of clinical depression is persistent sadness or emptiness that lasts for weeks or months. You may feel like there is no joy in life and that nothing brings you happiness.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Clinical depression can cause a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to bring you joy. This can include hobbies, socializing, or even spending time with loved ones.
Changes in appetite, weight, or sleep patterns
Depression can cause changes in your appetite, weight, or sleep patterns. You may experience a loss of appetite or overeating, leading to weight gain or loss. You may also have trouble sleeping, either by sleeping too much or having trouble falling or staying asleep.
Feeling tired or fatigued, even after a full night’s sleep, is a common symptom of depression. You may feel like you have no energy or motivation to do anything.
Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering things
Depression can make concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things difficult. You may feel like your thoughts are foggy or that you can’t focus on anything.
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or helplessness
Clinical depression can cause feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or helplessness. You may feel like you are a burden to others or that you are a failure.
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Depression can cause recurring thoughts of death or suicide. If you are experiencing these thoughts, it is important to seek help immediately.
Depression can cause physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pains that do not respond to treatment. These physical symptoms may be a sign that your depression is getting worse.
Difficulty with relationships, work, or school
Depression can make it challenging to maintain healthy relationships or perform well at work or school. As a result, you may feel like you cannot keep up with responsibilities or are falling behind.
Increased use of drugs or alcohol
Depression can lead to an increase in drug or alcohol use as a way to cope with feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking help from a mental health professional is important. Here are some steps you can take to deal with these symptoms:
Talk to your healthcare provider
Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and recommend a mental health professional for you to see.
Reach out to a mental health professional
A therapist or psychiatrist can aid you in diagnosing and treating depression. They may also advise therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Choosing the right mental health professional can be a crucial step in your journey towards improving your mental health. Here are some tips to help you select the right mental health professional for your needs:
- Understand the different types of mental health professionals. There are different types of mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and counsellors. Each profession has different training and expertise. Therefore, it’s important to understand their qualifications and what they can offer.
- Identify your specific needs. Be clear about the type of help you need, whether therapy, medication management, or a combination of both. Consider your specific concerns such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or relationship issues.
- Consider their experience and expertise. Look for a mental health professional with experience and knowledge in the areas in which you are seeking help. Check their credentials, certifications, and licenses.
- Ask for referrals: Ask your primary care physician, family, or friends for referrals to mental health professionals they trust. You can also check online directories or professional associations.
- Consider their approach. Different mental health professionals may have different treatment approaches. For example, some may use cognitive behavioural therapy, while others may use psychodynamic therapy or other types of interventions. Consider what approach may work best for you.
- Check for availability. Consider the availability of the mental health professional. Do they have flexible scheduling options? Do they offer teletherapy? Can you contact them in case of emergencies?
- Trust your gut feeling. Feeling comfortable and safe with your mental health professional is important. Trust your gut feeling about the therapist or provider you’re considering. It may not be the right fit for you if you feel uneasy.
Join a support group
A support group can help you connect with others going through similar experiences. It can also provide a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings.
Self-care is essential to maintaining good mental health and overall well-being. Here are some tips for practising self-care:
Get enough sleep
Aim for at least 7–8 hours of sleep each night to help your body and mind recharge.
Eat a healthy diet
Fuel your body with healthy foods to improve your energy levels and mood.
Engage in the physical activity you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, running, dancing, or walking.
Permit yourself to take breaks throughout the day, whether for a short walk outside or a few minutes to meditate. Royalty free meditation music is a great option to explore when taking time off to meditate.
Spend time in nature
Being in nature has been shown to reduce stress and improve mood. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike.
Practise relaxation techniques
Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to calm your mind and reduce stress.
Pay attention to the present moment without judgment. This can help you stay grounded and reduce anxiety.
Limit screen time
Take a break from social media and other screens to reduce stress and improve sleep.
Engage in activities you enjoy
Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy, whether painting, reading, or listening to music.
Stay connected with loved ones
It is important to stay connected with loved ones and to seek support from those around you.
Remember, depression is a condition that can be treated. Reaching out to a mental health professional is the first step to getting the treatment you need to improve your mental health and well-being. Hopefully, by following the tips mentioned in this article, you will be able to deal with depression better.
David Radar, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.