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Depression is a real illness

Depression is a real illness
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“Depression is not a weakness of character, laziness, or a phase. Tough love, like telling someone to ‘buck up’ or ‘try harder,’ doesn’t work, and worsens the illness. Depression is a disorder that develops from environmental and biological issues that are unique to each person. Only one out of four individuals [with depression] seeks treatment. The reason more don’t go for psychotherapy or medication is stigma. They worry they’ll be labelled, deemed undesirable, and other such things. Misinformation about mental illness shames and discriminates those suffering with depression from getting professional help.” – Professor Deborah Serani.

You don’t need to feel sad all day to be depressed

You don’t need to feel sad all day to be depressed
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“It seems obvious that experiencing a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, would be required for someone to be diagnosed. But some people who are diagnosed with depression do not report feeling depressed, sad or low, but rather, they report experiencing significantly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day. Either one, or both together, can be present when considering a diagnosis of depression.” – Psychologist, Dr Simon Rego.

Don’t miss these everyday habits that could up your risk for depression.

You can’t just “get over” depression

You can’t just “get over” depression
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“Often people with chronic depression are told by friends and family to just ‘get over it,’ and they treat depression as if it’s temporary, like a cold. People suffering from mental illness are just that, suffering from an illness. But not one they can just get over, like a cold – it’s more like cancer. They cannot just ‘snap out of it.’ It is an ongoing fight.” – Registered nurse, Gina Gambino.

Meds aren’t a quick fix

Meds aren’t a quick fix
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“Antidepressants may be helpful in certain forms of depression, but it is also vital that you delve deep into yourself to get to the psychological and spiritual truths of depression so you can fully heal. You are not a just a ‘victim’ of depression. You can take positive action such as exercise and meditation to help balance your biochemistry. Laughter is good medicine that can raise your endorphins, the feel-good neurochemicals in the body. Depression isn’t just the result of a biochemical imbalance. It is an opportunity to grow, to love yourself more, and to receive support from those who love you.” –Psychiatrist, Dr Judith Orloff.

Here are some hidden signs of depression to watch out for.

People can hide their depression

People can hide their depression
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“Many people function well with depression in front of others. It’s when they start their day, end their day, or isolate themselves from others that the symptoms are obvious. It would be a mistake for someone to believe just because a person doesn’t appear sad, that they’re not depressed. This is called ‘high functioning depression.’ Depression can be treated successfully – the treatment is not the problem. The willingness to be assessed and ask for help is the major limitation.” – Psychologist, Dr Susan Fletcher.

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Children can become depressed too

Children can become depressed too
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“It is important to recognise that depression in children often doesn’t look ‘typical’ and can be mistaken for other diagnoses, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety. Symptoms for depression in children can look ‘typical’: withdrawal, low energy, negative thinking, and lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. A child may also be irritable, easy distracted, or worry excessively. They may sleep too little or too much, or eat too little or too much. It is important to look at the child as whole, noting mood changes and external triggers throughout the day, week and month, and maintain open communication. A common myth is that by talking about depression or suicide you will make it worse, but it’s important to talk to children about it because they may not know that something is wrong, and by opening the door you are helping them find the words to express what they are feeling.” – Social worker, Kacia Kriener Putman.

Here are the signs of childhood depression every parent needs to know.

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Taking meds isn’t necessarily forever

Taking meds isn’t necessarily forever
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“Some people assume that if they are prescribed antidepressants they will need to take them for the rest of their lives. People can use medication as a tool to help them feel better. Using supports shouldn’t be confused with becoming dependent. I was with a patient yesterday who said she wanted to fix it on her own, and I asked if she had an infection would she feel the same way about antibiotics or would she take them? She laughed. Sometimes the stigma of mental illness gets in the way of people getting the help they need.” – Psychologist, Dr Jessica Koblenz.

Don’t miss these everyday habits that could up your risk for depression.

Grief isn’t the same as depression

Grief isn’t the same as depression
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“Sadness over loss is not depression. Grief must be experienced, not stifled or medicated. The misconception is that grieving should be brief, not too obvious, and quickly dispensed with. We often express admiration for people who do not demonstrate the depth of their sadness. Depression is not sadness over loss. But people can become depressed from persistent and unremitting stress, or as the outcome of trauma, or they may have neurobiology that makes it likely that they will become depressed at some time in their lives for no obvious reason. Psychotherapy can help sort out the cause, and that leads to the most effective treatment plan.” – Psychologist, Dr Margaret Wehrenberg.

These are the things you should never say at a funeral.

Depression can manifest itself in different ways

Depression can manifest itself in different ways
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“People often don’t realise that depression isn’t just one thing. It can have different causes and presentations. Some people look sad, others are more irritable, some withdraw, and others seem restless.” – Psychologist, Dr Lisa Moses.

Learning self-compassion is critical

Learning self-compassion is critical
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“The experience of shame can interact with depression in important ways that can maintain or worsen the severity of clinical depression. Classically, the depressed person engages in behaviours that they aren’t proud of: skipping important school or work functions, losing patience with loved ones, staying in bed instead of exercising or engaging in enriching activities, drinking too much. Common sense dictates that in order to turn the downward spiral of depression into a slow but steady upward spiral, these behaviours need to change. And that is true. But for some, before behaviour change happens, the shame needs to be treated first by learning the skills of self-compassion. Self-compassion is not tough love or false hope, but connecting the pain with understanding, curiosity, and a sincere wish for relief based in kindness and love rather than criticism and disgust.” – Psychologist, Dr Erin Mendoza.

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