Depression is a mental disorder characterized by an extreme and prolonged feeling of sadness, mood swings, and loss of interest in things. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common mental problem. Over 300 million people worldwide are depressed. People who are depressed will perform less at work and home and have poor social relationships. Depressed people may also neglect their health. At its worst, depression ends in suicide. 

How do you draw the line between depression and normal sadness?

Life is a series of ups and downs for all of us, and we cannot always be happy. We lose jobs, lose people we love, fail exams, name it. It is okay to be sad. The problem begins when the sadness becomes so prolonged and almost impossible to get over. Ordinary sadness can turn into depression if you do not find mechanisms to cope in time. If you think you are depressed, visit a mental health specialist in Meridian for consultation and treatment. 

The initial signs of depression

Some initial symptoms of depression include; losing interest in daily activities, over-sleeping or being unable to get sleep, lack of appetite or over-eating, losing concentration, and being angry and irritable with people at the slightest provocation. With time, if left unaddressed, the problems exacerbate, and one becomes socially isolated and suicidal. 

What causes depression?

There are many causes of depression. Some of these include having a family history of depression, and personal issues such as low self-esteem and loss of a loved one. Drug abuse also leads many to depression. Another common cause of depression is having a terminal illness and being on medications which trigger depression. When depression is at its most severe phase, it is known as clinical depression. Clinical depression is called major depressive disorder or major depression. 

How to prevent or control depression

If you notice that you are becoming depressed, you may talk to a counsellor or psychologist who will help you deal with the condition before it aggravates. Apart from seeking therapy, you can:

  • Talk and vent to a trusted friend – Share your issue with a friend. Vent if you have to, but do not keep to yourself. 
  • Be around people – Avoid staying alone. Find friends, go out, or visit your family members. Being alone may trigger feelings of loneliness, which make you feel more depressed. You can also visit charity homes and volunteer. Helping others has been known to boost happiness.
  • Do not over-think, get moving- Try to wade off negative thoughts and concentrate on your work. Go to work, exercise, eat healthy, and stay calm. More importantly, have a to-do list with enough activities to keep you busy. 

Depression is real, but it is comforting to know that you can be free. You can prevent a sad situation from progressing into depression. Know that no problem is permanent. Learn to develop a thick skin and healthy coping mechanisms. If you are suffering from severe depression, seek medical help.