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by Mel May 13th 2009, 07:24 AM

Article featured in Avatar - Volume 1, Issue 9 (February 2008).

by *xxjessxx*, Katiee & .Infinity. (Mel)

An introduction - What is depression?

Depression is an illness that affects your body, as well as your mood, thoughts and behaviors. As your self-esteem levels tend to change, your eating and sleeping patterns can change as well.

Despite what some people say, depression isnít just something where you can just ďpull yourself togetherĒ from. It takes a lot of time and effort to overcome this illness. It can be really hard and isolating when you feel upset, sad and tired all the time, like no-one cares and like you're all alone.

Despite all of this, you will find that depression is a lot more common then you may think. On average 1 in 15 teenagers are seriously depressed each year, and many go untreated.

Symptoms of depression

Sometimes it can be be hard to put into words how you are feeling because of how overwhelming all of these feelings can be. There are some common symptoms that you may experience, these symptoms may include:

- You keep feeling sad and upset.
- You donít seem to be able to have fun anymore, just donít see the point and canít get motivated.
- You feel really bad about yourself, maybe worthless or guilty.
- Your sleeping patterns change a lot.
- You may keep getting strange headaches or other unexplained illnesses.
- You may cry over small things.
- You gain or loose weight without meaning to.
- You canít concentrate on anything.
- You feel helpless.
- You donít want to go out with your friends anymore.
- Lack of energy.
- Low self-esteem.
- In some cases, thoughts of suicide.

Types of Depression

As there are many different symptoms of depression, there are also many different types. Types of depression may include, but are not limited to:

Mild Depression: Symptoms of mild depression are usually less intense than those that are found in people who have severe depression. The symptoms found in people who have mild depression are usually less noticeable or less frequent. This type of depression often goes undiagnosed, as the person feeling the symptoms doesn't feel them as harshly as others with a more severe depression would.

Severe Depression: Also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or clinical depression. Symptoms of severe depression are usually more intense; resulting in extreme negative feelings. All symptoms of this type of depression are usually severe enough for others to be able to see or feel whilst in your presence. Severe depression usually requires immediate treatment by a professional. Being left untreated could have very serious negative results.

Bipolar Disorder (BPD): Also known as manic depression. Symptoms of this disorder usually involve emotional highs and lows. People with this form of depression usually meet symptoms intense enough to be classified as severe depression, then their mood swings up to the complete opposite, most commonly known as mania.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is commonly known as the mood change that occurs when the weather season changes. This type of depression is most commonly known to take place in the winter months, but can occur at any time. It has been said that the amount of sunlight consumed is less within the autumn and winter months, causing these affects.

Postnatal Depression (PND): PND is a type of depression that occurs shortly after a woman gives birth. This type of depression usually occurs because of all of the bodily and environment changes that have and still are occurring whilst giving birth and raising the child.

As said before, these are just some of the main types of depression. There are many different feelings or types that a person can experience.

How to cope with depression

The main thing that you should always try to do is to keep yourself well through this all. Staying well means that you need to focus on eating balanced meals, exercising daily and by making sure to get enough sleep.

You should also always try to find positive outlets. Whether you write about things that are bothering you, draw things or just do something else that you like, being positive about what you do is very important. While you must do positive things, you must always try to think positive, too. Try to recognize the good in yourself and try to pat yourself on your back for the good things that you've done.

Another thing that you can do is to try to keep yourself busy. Try doing things that you like or try setting goals and picking up new hobbies. By doing either of these things you are not only involving yourself in things that you may love or can love again, but you're also giving yourself positive things to look forward to doing. If you decide to set a goal, try to set something that you know you will be able to work towards and finish.

Furthermore, don't be afraid to show your emotions! Whether you feel upset or anything at all, don't be afraid to cry. Crying is a very healthy way to release pain and emotions from within. Never turn to negative ways of coping such as drugs or alcohol. Neither of those actually solve any issues, they usually just create more problems in the long run.

Finally, reach out for help!

Getting help

Asking for help isn't always an easy thing, but it is the right thing to do.

When ready to get better, most people who have depression should usually go to see a doctor or a counselor about it. By seeing a doctor not only can you get diagnosed as to whether or not you have depression or any other disorder, but you can also get medication for it. Medication isn't always required, but it is an available option.

By talking to a counselor about this you can also let out your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Letting out your thoughts, feelings and emotions is usually something that helps a person a lot. Keeping things bottled up inside usually only eats at you, making you feel worse. If this option is chosen, not only can you let all of your thoughts, feelings and emotions out, but you and your counselor can also work on solutions to your problems.

By trying either of these things one must always remember to be completely honest with whichever professional speak to. They need to know everything in order to help you their full abilities. One must also remember that trying either of these options doesn't promise direct results, but each person who tries either usually starts to feel better within a few weeks.

What if I'm not ready to speak to a doctor or counselor yet?

Not being ready to speak to either is something that a lot of us feel. We sometimes feel scared, lack trust or just don't like talking to a strange person about it. While talking to a professional usually gives out the best results, you can talk to others about it.

Who? Talk to a person who you trust a lot, one who you feel very comfortable around. Whether you speak to a family member, take aside a best friend or even a mutual friend, talking to a person who you have known for quite some time can be a lot more comforting than talking to one who you hardly know.

What if I feel suicidal?

If you feel suicidal you need to reach out for help immediately. Whether you go talk to someone, call a suicide prevention hotline or 911, you need to get a hold of someone who can help you immediately.

If you can't get to a phone, please take some time to think about it. When feeling suicidal you may feel so much emotional pain that you will fail to remember that there is a way you can get through whatever it is that is hurting you, that you can get help and that people do care about you. Think about why you feel this way, what positive way you can try to handle it and what you have around you. Remember that suicide and the affect of it is permanent, these feelings may not be. As hard as it may be, try to hang on tightly until you can get help for this.

Suicide hotlines

Australia -
Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800 (24 hour, toll free)

UK -
Child Line UK: 0800 1111 (24 hour, toll free)
Samaritans, UK: 08457 90 90 90
Samaritans, Ireland: 1850 60 90 90

Canada -
Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668 6868 (24 hour, toll free)

1 800 SUICIDE (24 hour, toll free)

If you can't find any suicide hotlines in your area, try looking in the front your phone book. Look for keywords such as: suicide prevention, crisis intervention, hotlines - crisis or suicide. If you still can't find anything, dial 911 and tell the operator that you're in danger of committing suicide.



Last edited by Mel; April 4th 2010 at 08:08 AM.
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