We can all feel sad or low at times. However sometimes feelings intensify and persist for much longer periods of time.
Sometimes these feelings are in direct relation to something which has happened, for example a loss or the end of a relationship, or they can be related to physical change such as an illness.
If the feelings are intense and have not improved over a period of 4 weeks or more then it is important to be aware of what you can do to get support.
Below you will find three common blocks (barriers and misconceptions) that can prevent us from addressing the symptoms of depression.
I don’t want to take medication!
Medication is one form of treatment for depression. The best way to assess what may be right for you is to see a doctor and talk through all the options, which you can then consider, and maybe talk through with a trusted support person.
I feel very sad but does that mean I'm depressed?
Not necessarily. Depression is very different to feeling sad or down. People who are depressed experience an intense level of lower mood over a long period of time. Usually they struggle to engage in activities, or with people and often describe feeling hopeless.
I’m very worried about my friend
If we notice that one of our friends is not engaging with people and activities then try talking to them and letting them know you're concerned. Ask them if they need help to seek support. It could be they are reacting to something very specific that happened – or it could be a significant change in mood. A doctor or counsellor can be a good place to start. You can also offer to be with them if they are worried about going on their own.
Below are three things you can do to boost success.
Exercise, sleep and good food
Don’t underestimate how much better you can feel if you manage your sleep, eat well and exercise regularly. This will not be the cure for clinical depression, but will make a significant difference to your mood, and to your physical health. Having a routine which includes these 3 elements is an important first step to managing low mood.
Having regular contact with people we love and value can lift our mood. If you’re feeling depressed this can be hard, and sometimes the combination of anxious thinking and a depressed mood may convince you that avoiding others is best. It is important to realise that a depressed and anxious brain will work against you in doing what is best. So try to do things that are relatively easy. Contact a good friend or family member. Perhaps see if they can come over to visit you and share a meal, watch Netflix, or go for a walk on the beach.
Whilst friends can be an invaluable support they can’t replace professional help if you’re managing depression. In addition to your doctor other health professionals will be important to your recovery. A skilled health professional can give you strategies and ideas for managing your mood and help you track your progress over time.
Need more info?
If you or a friend are feeling suicidal please contact Mental Health Triage on 13 14 65 in South Australia or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Don't forget to explore 'Other services' on the Mental Health page to find online treatment programs and support apps.
Online treatment programs
- Mindspot is a free online treatment program focusing on anxiety and depression.
- This way up involves a small fee.
- Mental health online is a therapist supported program.
- Moodgym is free.
- ECouch is a self-help interactive program with a module for depression.
- My Compass is free.
- Mydigital Health offers LifeFleX program for anxiety and depression.