WHAT IS - Depression?
What is Depression?
Depression is the most common mental disorder in the world. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) is more than just sadness. “People with depression may experience a lack of interest and pleasure in daily activities, significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.” Depression is characterized by many symptoms, some of the most common ones are persistent sadness, feeling “empty”, losing interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy or fatigue, difficulty concentrating, remembering, sleeping, appetite and/or weight changes, thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts, etc.
How does depression affect your intimate relationships?
Depression can put a lot of strain on a person’s interpersonal relationships. Depression might prefer to stay home alone rather than seeing their partner. They may suffer from extreme tiredness or struggle with random outbursts of crying, which can make it hard for them to be in public. They might also struggle with self-doubt, and may even convince themselves that they aren't good enough for their partner, or that their partner will leave them for someone else. Being in a relationship with someone who has depression can be difficult. It can be frustrating when one’s partner does not seem excited to spend time with them or avoids date nights because of the influences of depression. The partnership may be less fulfilling because the core components of a healthy relationship, like affection, quality time, intimacy, are strained.
How Can You Manage Your Depression?
Fortunately, depression is treatable. The primary treatment for depression is “talk therapy” otherwise known as, psychotherapy. Several types of psychotherapy have been shown to be safe and effective for the treatment of depression such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), and Solution-Focused therapy (SFT).
Another treatment is antidepressant medications which is often prescribed in combination with psychotherapy. These medications affect the chemical balance in the brain and must be prescribed by a medical professional!
Self-help skills and finding a strong support system from family and friends are important for recovery! Taking care of both your body and mind is important. Eating nourishing foods, sleeping enough hours per day, getting outside, and moving your body are all basic healthy behaviours that can make a positive difference to your whole body-mind system. Self-help can also look like avoiding or reducing intake of alcohol and drugs, journaling, and expressing yourself creatively (e.g. drawing, dancing). There is also the option of self-help groups (remote and in person options) who let you talk to people who have also “been there”, and this little community can help support you!
It is important to remember that there is more to a person than their depression. Seeking help is a testament of strength and courage to open up and offer yourself the support, guidance, and healing you always deserved! You can find services close to home by searching the Ontario Health Care Options directory. There is also the option of contacting Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 or http://www.kidshelpphone.ca or talking to a school counsellor, nurse, or even your family doctor.
You may find that the support of family, friends and family doctor is not enough to help you feel like yourself again. There is always the option of seeking psychotherapy through a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, and/or psychologist. Through your sessions, you will gradually learn how to face these difficult situations and feel prepared to manage your depression effectively. Our team of therapists here at Relationship Matters Therapy Centre strive to help others identify the roots of their struggles and learn useful strategies to overcome them.