Depression is a common mental health disorder. Did you know that 1 in 10 people experience it at some point? It’s a condition that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. There’s no shame in it, but it’s important to recognise it and seek help if you do start to experience it.

Of course, we all feel sad sometimes, however, depression is when this sadness or low mood lasts more than just a few days. Untreated, depression can go on for weeks, months, even years.

For example, it’s perfectly normal to get upset and feel sad when you’re going through a loss, and feeling miserable for some time after wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from depression. However, if this feeling of sadness persists for a long time afterwards, it might be a sign of depression.

What are the symptoms of depression?

These can vary from individual to individual, but then some of the more common symptoms of depression include:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other activities you used to enjoy

  • Not wanting to socialise

  • Continuous low mood

  • Low self-esteem

  • Constant self-loathing or guilt

  • Irritability

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Feeling worthless

  • Unable to enjoy anything

  • Difficulties in concentrating

  • Not wanting to get up in the morning

  • Unable to sleep, or sleeping too much

  • Overeating or under-eating

  • Wanting to shut yourself off from people

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and there are other ways depression can manifest.

Are there different types of depression?

Yes. There are many different types of depression, and here are some of the more common forms:

Situational Depression

As its name suggests, this is caused by a current traumatic or stressful situation as well as past traumatic experiences. It could be due to work problems, school problems, debt problems, relationship problems, a significant (traumatic) change in one’s life, childhood trauma, or another stressful situation.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

This tends to happen to people in the autumn and winter months, when the days are shorter and darker.

Major Depression

This is when low mood, low self-esteem or loss of enjoyment, persists for two weeks or more.

Bipolar Disorder

Also known as ‘mania’, this can involve people swinging between low moods and ‘manic’ tendencies, including risky behaviour of high spending, etc.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

This is when a depressive mood continues for more than two years, affecting most of the sufferer’s time.

Postnatal Depression

Postnatal Depression happens to mothers in the months after they’ve had a baby.

What should I do if I think I have depression?

If you think you have depression, perhaps due to a trauma or a change in your life that’s causing you stress, the first step is to seek help from a professional. Depression treatment may include a combination of the following: self-help, talking therapies, and medications. Treatment will be determined by the type and severity of your depression. If you have very serious symptoms you may need to go to your doctor.

There are different ways of treating depression. Many people find therapy effective. There are different kinds of therapy, including:

  • Art Therapy

  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

  • Narrative Therapy

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

The type of therapy you receive is determined by your preferences and circumstances. Before committing to the process, you can discuss with your chosen therapist what would be best for your situation. Sometimes, medication is used, often in conjunction with therapy sessions.

What else can I do to combat depression?

Many activities that can help fight off depression. These include exercising regularly, eating healthily, meeting with friends and family, journaling, art, mindfulness and meditation . Meditation has been found particularly useful for helping patients cope with stress and anxiety that can be factored in depression. It does so by training (or re-training) the mind to not get tangled up in thoughts that may otherwise spiral someone into a depressive cycle.

Seek help from people you trust

This form of therapy is not a cure for Cancer. It will give the patient a chance at a better quality of life. There have been many patients who have changed their way of thinking and feeling from having a better knowledge of themselves and their emotions. Art Therapy gives the patients the ability to relieve some stress and tension in the mind and body.

Family and friends.

If you are suffering from depression, you should think about talking to trusted family members and friends. Let them know how you feel and that you may need support getting through this.

Support groups.

There may be support groups in your area specially for people with depression. They say sharing a problem, halves a problem, and it can actually help to share with others going through similar problems.

Helplines for Depression

People with depression can also use support lines and crisis hotlines to reach out to others for help. It is a good idea to save these numbers to your mobile phone so you can readily find them if you ever need to.

Helpful numbers in Ireland include:

Aware Support line Freephone 1800 80 48 48 (adults)

Pieta Freephone 1800247247

Teenline Teenline is contactable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 1800 833 634.

Samaritans Help line 24/7 116123

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