Got a burning question about mental health difficulties? Want non-professional, peer-to-peer advice? Look no further, this feature will appear every month and invites readers to send in questions regarding mental health for tips and advice*. My name is Leanne and I have both specialist training and personal experience in mental health and will aim to provide user-friendly, non-professional advice to anyone who asks for it!
HOW TO ASK:
Please send your questions to: [email protected]
*Please note not all questions will be answered, and all will be posted anonymously. If you are seeking urgent or professional advice, please see our contact list at the end of this sub-section.
Q: I think I might be depressed, but I am unsure. How do I go about figuring this out?
A: Okay, so it’s important to define ‘depression’ because society tends to overuse the word which results in the true meaning of it being lost. Depression is more than just feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days; depression makes someone feel persistently sad for weeks, months, and sometimes a year or two. There are many different symptoms of depression and you may have them all and you may not. People tend to lose interest in the things they enjoy, feel tearful very often, and feel very low. Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as; tiredness, poor sleep or too much sleep, aches, pains, loss of appetite, and loss of sex drive.
When to get help?
If you feel that you fit the above and the emotions and feelings have been persistent then I would suggest booking an appointment with your GP. It’s best to catch it quick and spot the signs and symptoms as soon as you can, because as soon as you see a doctor, the sooner you can begin to recover.
There is an online test on the NHS Choices website which can give you a better idea of whether you are depressed and whether you should seek further advice and support. However, I would never rely on an online test, and quite frankly I completely disagree with them, but this may help you measure your mood and aid you with deciding whether to go to the GP or not. Talking to friends and family for their advice and opinion is usually a wise idea, these guys can notice things that maybe you can’t, and may be able to give you better insight into how you’ve been acting recently.
Depression can be a troubling and difficult battle, but once you start the process of recovery and engage with services it does get easier. You are not the only one, 1 in 10 people in the UK has suffered with depression and studies have found that 4% of children and youths have experienced depression.