I’m sitting on a bench in the park and suddenly a big branch fell from a tree nearby. I looked to see if there was a possum or something but couldn’t find anything that could have caused this branch to break. It just happened.
Everyone might experience feelings of sadness, unhappiness, worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness or sadness, at some time in their life which may be due to a specific event. However, when a depressed mood persists for more than several weeks and interferes with an individual’s ability to enjoy life and/or function properly professional help is recommended as it might be a sign of serious depression.
Depression can alter a person’s thinking, behaviour and function. Just like the branch falling off the tree without any particular cause, depression doesn’t need trauma or horrible circumstances, loss or grief in order to manifest itself. Just like a headache can come up anytime with no particular reason and without meaning that you are responsible or did something wrong.
However it is important to remember that depression is a treatable illness. The person with depression and their family must not feel responsible or see it as a sign of weakness, stigma and/or shame. Talk about depression and seek help and support.
It is an illness that affects many people from all backgrounds, genders, age groups etc. The symptoms can vary in duration and intensity and in severe cases can prove quite disabling with potentially serious consequences unless professional help is sought. Some of the symptoms that can be experienced in varying degrees are sadness, anxiety, panic, anger, withdrawal from family and friends, guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy, inability to perform simple every day tasks, inability to undertake family, work or social responsibilities.
One of the most common form of low mood linked to social stressors and characterised by many physical health problems is a combination of depression and anxiety.
If you have noticed that you or someone in your family seems pre occupied/worried/concerned or there’s a change in behaviour and/or outlook, it might be a good idea to visit the family doctor to discuss what the feelings and offer to make the appointment for them (if it’s for a loved one), if they seem despondent. Offer to go with them to the appointment as this support might prove very valuable. Maintain contact with the person so they feel supported and know there is someone they can talk to outside a medical professional.