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Mental health problems are challenging and complicated, and it's important to get support when faced with them. Unfortunately, there are some myths about depression that make living with it hard to talk about. Here are some interesting facts about depression.

This can help if:

  • you want to know more about depression
  • you’re living with depression
  • you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, and it’s hard to talk to the people you care about.
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1. Depression is more than feeling sad

Feeling sad, like a whole range of emotions, is a healthy and normal part of life. Sadness for most people comes and goes, and doesn’t get in the way of things that matter to them. The experience described as clinical depression differs from this because of the impact, and the length of time a person feels sad.

Depression isn’t just sadness; some people describe feeling cranky or irritable and wanting to be alone. People with depression also talk about other experiences, such as finding it hard to focus, feeling hopeless, having low motivation to do anything, or not wanting to do things they used to enjoy. Get more information about the signs and symptoms of depression here.

If any of these symptoms last longer than two weeks, there might be something more serious going on than just feeling sad.

2. Sometimes, talking about depression isn’t enough

Talking with friends and family is a great way to deal with the day-to-day ups and downs of life. When it comes to depression, though, things are a bit more complicated. The experience of depression can have some people feeling isolated and alone, even if others are supportive and trying to help.

Talking about how you feel with a trusted friend or family member is an important step. However, mental health professionals can offer treatments and strategies that are an important part of the recovery journey.

3. Depression isn’t the same as being ‘lazy’ or ‘weak’

Experiencing depression can mean that people struggle to get out of bed, get to school or work, or take part in activities that they used to enjoy. From the outside, this can look like they’re not trying hard enough. The way that others respond to a person with depression is important, and the misconception that they are lazy or weak can make it more difficult for them to seek help and recover.

Depression can affect all kinds of people, even those who are traditionally considered to be ‘strong’ or who seem like they have no obvious reason to be depressed.

4. Depression can affect anyone

For some people who experience depression, patterns of critical self-thinking can be traced back to troubles in childhood, parents with their own mental health concerns, or bullying and trauma. For others, there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer or explanation.

People of all races, sexes and classes can be affected by depression, and all can struggle in dealing with the stigma surrounding it.

5. No one chooses to have depression

People don't choose to be depressed, in the same way that people don't choose to have cancer. So, telling a person with depression to cheer up or to ‘snap out of it’ can be harmful and can leave them feeling more isolated. Depression is associated with complex social, biological and cultural factors that can’t be wished away.

6. Getting help can be really hard

For many people, depression can bring feelings of shame or hopelessness, and a sense of being broken or unworthy. This can make it a huge struggle to ask for support, or to get help to make things better. Understanding that these feelings are a part of depression and can shift with treatment can sometimes help to get enough motivation to take action. If you’re thinking of seeing a GP, here’s what you need to know.

7. There are many options for treating depression

Depending on the severity and cause of the depression, different treatment methods are available, which are research-based and provided by mental health professionals. However, recovery takes time and will involve lots of ups and downs.

Many people who have recovered from depression describe a number of changes that have helped them, from physical exercise (such as walking), to making art or playing music, to using psychological therapies. In some cases, a doctor might prescribe medication to help manage severe symptoms.

It's important that you feel comfortable with the mental health professional you choose to work with. Some people need to meet a few people before they find the one who is the right fit for them. While getting support can be daunting, it can really help you to manage depression. The sooner this happens, the sooner you can start feeling more like yourself again.

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