Understanding Depression —
Yours & Theirs

Being depressed is not “abnormal” nor is it a sign of weakness. However, when it goes on for too long or is too intense, we should seek help from a professional. Depression CAN be treated!

Signs of Depression

Physical Appearance

Slow movements, unkempt appearance; sad face.

Reduced Activity

Lethargy, lack of motivation. A person no longer does activities he/she used to enjoy.

Withdrawal

Wanting to be alone, no desire to socialise

Negative Thoughts

About self, future, life in general, feelings of failure and guilt

Reduced Concentration

Difficulty in establishing or maintaining concentration, observed by you or others

Physical Problems

Sleeping problems, weight problems, (loss or gain), decreased sexual interest, complaints of aches and pains.

Taking Care of Your OWN Depression

+ FACE UP TO IT

Accept that you are experiencing depression. Guilt about your feelings or DENIAL of their existence only WORSENS the problem.

+ RECOGNISE THE PROBLEM

Identify both the cause of depression and when you feel the most depressed. Keep a diary. Make careful note of the situations that seem to trigger increased depression – Where you are, what were you doing, with whom and what were you thinking?

+ TAKE ACTION

Structure your activities and provide yourself with opportunities to realise the emotions that accompany depression. GO BACK to doing things you previously enjoyed or try a new interest. Attend SOCIAL ACTIVITIES even if you don’t feel like talking. Don’t cut yourself off from supportive friends and relatives.

+ STAY ACTIVE

To counteract the physical slowdown of depression – walk, play sport etc.

+ WATCH YOUR DIET

Eat a balanced diet and energy giving foods e.g. fruit and raw vegetables.

+ READ

Self-help books recommended by “Professional People” can help you overcome problem areas in your life and help you understand the feelings you are experiencing.

+ ASK YOURSELF

“How can I let go of my depression?”
“What would I be doing if I wasn’t depressed?”
“What benefits do I get from being depressed?”

How Do I Live with a Depressed Person?

Depressed people can be very difficult to be around, and yet they need more than the usual understanding and support from their friends and family.

The anger and mistrust that a depressed person has for those around him/her can cause a lot of distress. A depressed person often finds it difficult to carry on a conversation. While being supportive and understanding, the relative/friend should try and ensure that they do not attempt to meet unreasonable or unrealistic demands on the part of the depressed person.

Over protection can bring about great dependency and attention seeking behaviour. This may lengthen their recovery period and may discourage them from making the necessary change to improve their situation.

Don’t Moralise – Don’t advise a depressed person to “snap out of it” or “put on a happy face”.

Be Available – Let them know you are prepared to listen.

Don’t say you know the answer to their depression. You can, however, offer suggestions on ways to deal with how they feel – what has helped you in the past.

URGE him/her to get PROFESSIONAL HELP. If necessary offer to accompany your relative/friends on their first visit [if that will make this step easier for them.