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Problems

Depression

Depression is very common and everyone feels fed up, sad, unhappy, miserable at times. Sometimes we know that there is a cause for our depression - maybe we have just broken up from a relationship, maybe someone we were close to has died, we may have failed exams, we may be ill - but other times there doesn't seem to be one cause - it may be a build up of problems, feeling unable to cope with life and we are not really sure why.

When depression is very severe some people can feel that life isn't worth living, they want to die. When depression doesn't go away it is important to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help but a sign of strength to recognise that you have these feelings and are unable to cope. Many people find at some stage in their life that it is hard to cope as well as they used to. You don't have to be strong all the time - recognise when you are finding it difficult to cope and need support.

People can get a variety of symptoms when they feel very depressed.

  • General feelings of unhappiness which don't go away.

  • Having no interest in life.

  • Finding it difficult to concentrate and make even easy decisions.

  • Having no feeling of enjoyment in life.

  • Not wanting to go out or mix with people but spending a lot of time on your own.

  • Feeling very tired and having no energy.

  • Finding it difficult to sleep and waking up frequently during the night.

  • Having no appetite and eating very little

  • Losing self confidence and feeling worthless.

  • Being very irritable, anxious, impatient.

  • Feeling very negative about life.

  • Having suicidal thoughts.

If you are depressed don't bottle it up - it is important you talk to someone - family, friend, teacher, youth leader, GP, organisation, helpline etc. - anyone you feel you can trust If you don't share how you are feeling you may find yourself using unhealthy coping strategies which will in the long run only add to your problems and make you feel worse - some people may start drinking alcohol more, may take drugs, may start self harming and cutting themselves, may stop eating or binge eating and making themselves sick.

You may find that counselling will help you as this will give you a safe space to talk to someone who is especially trained. This will help you to say how you really feel inside and the counsellor will work with you to help you find solutions and healthy coping strategies and to look at the reasons behind your depression. This will give you a better understanding of your feelings and some support in working through anything which is troubling you. If you find that counselling doesn't work for you then it would be an idea to see your GP and discuss with him other ways of helping you with your depression.

Talking to others and counselling and therapy can help but to pull yourself out of a depression you need to do a lot of work yourself. When you are depressed you may feel you have no control over your life but you do still have choices. You can choose to stay depressed and not eat properly, not exercise, stay in bed all day, etc. or you can choose to try and help yourself to get out of the depression . If you take care of yourself physically it will help you to feel stronger emotionally and to cope more easily with life. Just as a car needs petrol to work properly so does your body need nutrients from food so although you may not feel like eating please try and eat healthily and drink plenty of water.

Sometimes when we are depressed life can seem very negative and black - it can be easy to forget that there are beautiful things in the world surrounding us. Try and get out each day into an open space, park, forest, lake etc. and just take in the beauty of your surroundings, and try and be at one with nature. This can help keep things in perspective and lift your mood.

Set yourself small goals - maybe each day try and write down something you want to do the following day and try and follow this through. The more active you are the less time you will have to focus on your depression. Try and interact with other people when you can as if you totally isolate yourself and cut yourself off from the outside world you could find your depression gets more severe.

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What Can I do To Help Myself

  • Don't bottle things up - find someone to talk to about how you are feeling.
  • Make sure you get plenty of exercise and plenty of fresh air. You will find that even if you do a quick walk every day and a short period of other exercise each day you will start to feel physically and emotionally stronger and more able to cope.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet - eat little and often and don't skip meals. If you are not eating properly you will feel more depressed and listless.
  • Try and keep busy - to keep your mind occupied.
  • Do things you enjoy to relax, treat yourself and take care of yourself.
  • Try and get to bed at a regular time. If you find it difficult to sleep listen to the radio/TV/read and you may find you drop off to sleep more easily.
  • Don't resort to unhealthy ways of dealing with your problems like drinking, taking drugs, cutting, eating disorders.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Try to stop thinking in a negative way - when you think a negative thought try and replace it with a positive one.
  • If you need a hug ask someone you trust - this can make you feel that someone really does care how you are feeling.

Remember depression is very common - you will not always feel like this - you will come out of it and be able to enjoy life.

If your depression is severe and you are having thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life it is important you talk to someone immediately about how you are feeling. If you are a child or young person speak to your parents about how you are feeling. They would want to know how you feel and to support you and look at ways of helping. Talk to your GP and make him aware of what is going on for you. It is very difficult to deal with severe depression on your own - you need help and support and in some cases your GP may advise medication.

ENDING YOUR LIFE AND HARMING YOURSELF IS NEVER THE ANSWER. YOU HAVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU AND WILL NOT ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THIS.

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Agencies which offer support and information

  • SupportLine Telephone Helpline: 01708 765200 (Helpline)
    email info@supportline.org.uk
    Confidential emotional support to Children Young People and Adults. Also keeps details of agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout UK.

  • Action on Depression (Scotland): 0808 802 2020
    www.actionondepression.org
    Telephone information and other support for people affected by depression. Information about symptoms and treatment, listening support and signposting to other agencies.

  • Association for Post Natal Illness: 020 7386 0868
    www.apni.org
    To advise and support women suffering from post natal illness. Running a network of volunteers to support sufferers throughout the UK.

  • Aware Defeat Depression: 08451 202961 (area served N.Ireland)
    www.aware-ni.org.uk
    Support, information or a listening ear for all those affected by depressive illnesses.

  • Bipolar UK:
    020 7931 6480
    www.bipolaruk.org.uk 
    Advice and information for people with manic depression and their families, carers and mental health professionals. Supply a range of information leaflets, books and tapes. Network of self help groups for people with manic depression, relatives and friends. Self management training programme.

  • Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87 (Area served SCOTLAND)
    www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk
    Breathing Space is a free, confidential phone line for people in Scotland who are experiencing low mood or depression. Breathing Space is available to the public every day of the year, 24 hours at weekends (6pm Friday–6am Monday) and 6pm-2am (Monday-Thursday).

  • CALL Community Advice and Listening Line (Wales): 0800 132737
    www.callhelpline.org.uk
    Mental health helpline for Wales providing confidential listening support service.  

  • Calmzone:
    National 0800 585858
    www.thecalmzone.net
    Campaign Against Living Miserably. Help and support for young men aged 15-35 on issues which include depression and suicide.

  • Childline: 0800 1111
    www.childline.org.uk

  • Directory and Book Services:
    01255 851115

    www.dabs.uk.com
    Wide range of books including those on depression, self esteem assertiveness, self harm, child abuse.

  • Depression Alliance: 0845 123 2320
    email information@depressionalliance.org
    www.depressionalliance.org
    Confidential listening and support service. Also offer a range of information on depression and treatment options. National network of self help groups for people experiencing depression. National pen friend scheme offering support and fellowship to people with depression and their carers. Quarterly newsletter, booklets and leaflets on depression.

  • Depression UK:
    Self Help Nottingham, Ormiston House, 32-36 Pelham Street, Nottingham NG1 2EG UK
    email info@depressionuk.org
    www.depressionuk.org
    Wide self help organisation made up of individual members and groups which meet locally on a regular basis for mutual support. £10 yearly membership (reductions for those who cannot afford that amount).

  • Get Connected: 0808 808 4994
    www.getconnected.org.uk
    Free telephone and email helpline finding young people the best help whatever the problem. Can connect a child or young person to any UK helpline where appropriate.

  • Health in Mind (Scotland)
    0131 225 8508

    www.health-in-mind.org.uk
    Promotes positive mental health and well being in Scotland. Provides a wide range of services including support, respite, befriending, day services, counselling/talking therapies, face to face and on telephone.

  • Lifeline (N.Ireland)
    0808 808 8000
    www.lifelinehelpline.info
    For anyone in N.Ireland who is in distress or despair. Immediate help on phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Face to face counselling can be arranged, also befriending, mentoring. Issues dealt with include suicide prevention, self harm, abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety.
    Run by Contact N.Ireland www.contactni.com independent counselling service employing professional qualified counselors who have extensive experience of working with people facing a wide range of problems, free to all users.

  • The Maytree: 020 7263 7070
    www.maytree.org.uk
    Sanctuary for the suicidal offering befriending and support (based in N.London).

  • The Mental Health Foundation:
    www.mhf.org.uk

    Publish a booklet 'Understanding Depression'.

  • Mind (National Association for Mental Health): 0300 123 3393
    www.mind.org.uk
    Publish booklets relating to Depression.

  • Mood Swings:
    Helpline: 0161 832 3736

    www.moodswings.org.uk
    National Helpline and online support providing free and confidential information, advice and support to people with mood disorders, family, friends and health and social care professionals. Also one to one, support groups, workshops at Centre in Manchester.

  • Muslim Youth Helpline: 0808 808 2008 (Area served London)
    email help@myh.org.uk
    www.myh.org.uk
    Helpline providing culturally sensitive support to Muslim youth under the age of 25. Outreach services including family mediation, face to face counselling and befriending.

  • National Youth Advocacy Service:
    0808 808 1001
    help@nyas.net
    www.nyas.net
    Provides information, advice, advocacy and legal representation to young people up to the age of 25 through a network of advocates throughout England and Wales.

  • SAD Association:
    www.sada.org.uk
    To inform the public about seasonal affective disorder. To support and advise sufferers of the illness. Limited light box hire scheme. Supply contacts list for members.

  • Samaritans:0845 790 90 90
    email jo@samaritans.org
    www.samaritans.org.

  • Voice for the Child In Care: 0808 800 5792
    www.voiceyp.org
    Telephone advice, information and advocacy services for children in care. Helpline for care leavers - 0808 100 3224. Visiting advocacy service for children in secure units and other residential homes.

  • Who Cares? Linkline: 0207 251 3117
    email mailbox@thewhocarestrust.org.uk
    www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk
    Helpline offering information and support for young people who are or have been in care.

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Useful websites

Useful book

Overcoming Depression by Paul Gilbert - Publishers Constable & Robinson: ISBN 1841191256
Click here to read more or buy this book

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