Depression is sometimes known as feeling blue, feeling sad and feeling down. When these feelings last longer than six months, it becomes clinical depression. When left untreated, depression can cause destabilization in one’s life; for example, a man struggling in his mental health may find himself having uncontrollable emotions and tears.

Physical symptoms of depression may be felt, and this person may become irritable, unable to tolerate situations that he could withstand in the past. A common misconception is that if one pretends that one does not have depression or any psychological issues, it will not bother the person, it will diminish or disappear. 

Indeed, some people may experience situational depression. With quick personal intervention, they ensure that the issues causing anxiety and depression are resolved quickly, and they return to their former functioning level. 

However, this kind of temporary situations cannot be termed depression. It is usually life crises that, when managed well and the outcome is favourable, results are positive, the individual is soon doing well. 


Let us look at symptoms of depression: They are both physical and psychological symptoms of depression.


Physical symptoms: Fatigue, body pain, headaches, sweaty, poor appetite, increased appetite, teeth grinding, too much sleep, too little sleep, fogginess, stomach pain, tense muscles, lethargy, and other manifestations of physical health problems.


Psychological symptoms of depression: feeling empty, teary, sadness, moodiness, irritability, suicidal thoughts, negative thoughts, impatience, aggressiveness, quiet or withdrawn, restlessness, fearfulness. 


If you feel most of these symptoms, reach out to a trusted friend or family and talk about it. Find ways to help yourself. Do a self-check, try to figure out how it all started, why it is persisting; this may give you a clue to understanding how you can begin a recovery journey. 

 Furthermore, if any of the above symptoms persist for longer than six months, it is time to check up with the family physician. Suppose there is no physical health condition that could be causing any of these conditions; in that case, it is time for the individual to seek counseling and psychotherapy with a registered clinical therapist. Also, if the person is incapacitated unable to function fully, it is essential to work with a family doctor and a therapist.


First steps to help with depression: 

 Some simple steps to follow are:


1. Identify the problem’s source: do a self-awareness check and introspection to understand what is happening to you. Is it physical health or mental health problem? Is there a current family, career or relationship problem that is causing you to feel emotionally down? 


2. Secondly, identify your thinking pattern; negative thoughts about the situation keeps the anxiety and depression present. This is because when people experience depressive feelings, their thoughts about their experiences are often negative. 


3. Identify your strengths and set goals for yourself. How were you performing or feeling before the onset of depression? How would you know when you are no longer depressed? Take action and start doing; each step you take will eventually help you out of the depressive state.


4. Engage in activities that you used to enjoy. Start small, and keep moving. Remember, depression causes one to lose motivation for pleasurable activities; some people avoid social gatherings when depressed; however, isolation worsens the condition. 


5. Reach out to a therapist if it persists so they can guide you through this period with supportive therapy, therapy focused on depression, stress or anxiety. 


Rita Onwodi-Ofili MSW, RSW

September 11, 2020.