Depression and anxiety can be really scary. Even though mental illnesses are common, they’re still stigmatised. That makes people who are suffering from these conditions even more reluctant to seek help because they fear being judged or misunderstood.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone: Millions of people struggle with depression and anxiety each year, but many don’t seek treatment for a variety of reasons. That’s why I’ve put together this list of questions you might be afraid to ask about your own depression—from how long it lasts to whether it affects your sex life!
1# Is depression a real illness?
Depression is a real illness. It’s not something you should be ashamed of, and it’s not something that means you’re weak or a failure. Depression is treatable, and there are plenty of people who have gotten through depression and come out on the other side stronger than before.
Some people believe that depression isn’t an actual illness because there isn’t any proof that it affects the biological makeup of the brain physically like other conditions do—but we know more now than ever before about how complex our brains are, how they work together with other organs in our bodies to keep us alive every day without even thinking about it until something goes wrong somewhere along this system (like when someone becomes depressed).
Success is falling 9 times and getting up 10 – Jon Bon Jovi
#2 How long does depression last?
You may have heard that depression is a lifelong condition and will never go away. While this is true for some people, it’s not true for everyone: depression can last weeks, months or even years. You might also be wondering how long you’ll need to take to see a counsellor before feeling better. The truth is that there’s no way to predict how long it will take you to recover from depression—it depends on many factors, including what caused your symptoms in the first place (if we knew that, we could prevent it!)
Do you need help with depression?
If left untreated for too long without support from a professional as well as friends, family and loved ones then symptoms may worsen into something more serious such as suicidal thoughts.
Depression may come back but sometimes the symptoms are milder than they were at first, which means that we can help manage them through lifestyle changes and counselling sessions. But if you don’t learn how to cope with stressors, then this problem might reoccur in new ways.
You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think – A.A Milne
#3 Does having depression make me crazy?
You might have heard that depression is a sign of weakness or an indication that you’re crazy. The truth is much simpler: Depression is a real illness, and it’s not your fault. It’s not about being weak or crazy, but rather about having an imbalance of brain chemicals — specifically serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — that can cause changes in your mood, sleeping patterns and energy levels.
When you have depression, you might feel like you’re constantly running on empty with no hope for relief in sight. But there are many ways to manage symptoms of depression so you can get back to living life again without feeling this way every day
While it may seem intimidating at first, don’t be afraid to ask questions about depression. It’s important to get a full picture of what causes this illness so you can make an informed decision on how best to treat it.
If you’d like to talk to me about depression, then please feel free to get in touch.
#4 What’s the difference between grief and depression?
Depression is not the same as grieving. Depression is a medical condition, whereas grief is a normal response to loss. Grieving involves processing your feelings through talking about them with others, such as a counsellor and doing things like writing in a journal, which helps you move on with your life. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment—medication or therapy—to manage those symptoms.
Depression can last for days or weeks at a time, but usually less than six months; if it lasts longer than that, it could be indicative of clinical depression.
Remember that grief is a healthy process, while depression is not. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important that you speak to a professional about getting treatment. I can help you to process your grief or help you to work through your depression.
If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it – Muhammad Ali
#5 Can I get depression again if I’ve had it before?
It’s normal to worry that depression will come back. After all, you’ve been through it before and it was hard. You’re not sure how you’ll handle it if it happens again.
Depression is a chronic illness, which means that it can be recurring. It may come back at any point in your life—and even after you’ve had years of feeling stable and happy—but there are things you can do to make sure that if depression hits again, you’ll know how to handle it better than last time!
If depression does come back, it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or laziness. It’s not something you can just “get over” with a little effort—depression is an illness that needs treatment from professionals, such as a counsellor like me, who understand the disease and how best to help people with it. If depression comes back again later in life, it can still be treated.
#6 If my family has a history of mental illness, am I likely to develop a mental illness too?
This question is one of the most common. It’s important to know that depression can be passed down from parent to child, or it can occur as a result of environmental factors. The National Institute of Mental Health (the leading agency for mental health research in the United States) states: “Genetics does not determine whether someone develops depression.” Instead, genetics likely play a role in how patients respond to life events and stressors.
If you’re afraid to ask yourself whether or not your family has a history of mental illness, don’t be. There are many factors that can play into whether or not you develop depression. If there is any cause for concern in your family, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional like me, about what steps you might take now to prevent mental illness later on.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new – Albert Einstein
Are you worried about your mental health?
Contact me now to arrange a safe and confidential space to talk through your concerns with a professional counsellor.
#7 Can a lack of sleep cause depression?
Does lack of sleep cause depression? Yes, it certainly can. Lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, stress and irritability which are all triggers for depression. When you’re not getting the right amount of sleep, your body doesn’t have enough time to repair itself from the day before. This means that any physical or mental issues you might have — like stress-related heart problems or mental exhaustion — will come back even stronger on top of each other.
Long-term lack of sleep can cause poor concentration, fatigue and even depression. If you’re dealing with these symptoms then it’s worth looking into how much sleep you’ve been getting recently because it may be affecting your mental health more than you think.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen, others make it happen – Michael Jordan
#8 Can medication help with depression, and if so, why should I try counselling first (or at all)?
Medications for depression (along with medication for anxiety) are among the most prescribed drugs in the world, with over 6 million people in the UK alone, taking anti-depressants. Many people see ‘anti-depressants’ as a ‘magic bullet’ to their mental illness and while this isn’t always the case, many people see quick improvements in their mental health, particularly in the short term. However, many anti-depressants have adverse side effects such as;
- feeling agitated, shaky or anxious.
- feeling and being sick.
- indigestion and stomach aches.
- diarrhoea or constipation.
- loss of appetite.
- not sleeping well (insomnia), or feeling very sleepy.
the list above is not exhaustive!
There is nothing impossible to him who will try – Alexander the Great
It’s also worth bearing in mind that anti-depressants are often prescribed on a ‘trial and error’ basis, where the drug will be changed to another type if the patient isn’t getting the intended relief.
When it comes to talking therapy such as counselling, the results have proven to be longer-lasting than with medications.
Counselling can help you to identify what is triggering your depression and help you to develop coping strategies. Moreover, by seeking counselling for depression, you have an opportunity to learn what triggers your reactions to specific things such as fears, places or certain situations. By working with a counsellor for depression, you can develop lifelong techniques to battle your depression.
I hope by answering these questions about depression, it’s given you a clearer understanding of what depression is. If you think you have depression and you’d like to speak to a counsellor, then please do get in touch. You can also take a look at one of my other blog post ‘4 answers to your questions about depression‘.