Depression for some is a reaction to a loss such as death of a loved one, a job, or some valued part of their life. This form of depression is a natural response to a loss and individuals may seek therapy but others learn to accept and make new meaning in their life after the loss, without the support of a therapist. It is when life is just too difficult to cope with yet other factors in your life are normal. Depression is a common illness suffered by millions around the world. It is defined by sadness that just continues to linger week after week with no end in sight.
What is Depression?
Depression is not simply a bad day or a struggle to adjust to a change in your life; it is a real medical condition. There are several forms of depression and with the support of your family doctor and a therapist you will be able to discover what type of depression and how severe it is. Once you understand the signs and symptoms of depression a treatment approach that bests suits you will be planned with the therapist who will be assisting you. Depression impacts all life tasks from work, social life, friends, family and intimate relationships.
How is it treated?
Often individuals are referred to the counselling practice by their family physician who understands the valuable emotional support we can provide for their patients while experiencing a depression. We use various different modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, EMDR, and other talk therapies. The counsellors in the practice also support clients in making necessary changes in their lives such as physical fitness, yoga, meditation, or referrals to other professionals that work alongside us in supporting our clients. We may explore a variety of coping techniques, and help clients design a realistic treatment plan for wellness.
Teaching me to “own my life story, without shame or blame” has been transformational. When faced with major challenges, I still ask myself, “What would Bonnie say?”
- R.S., White Rock, BC
The following is not meant to be a complete list for diagnosing depression. It is brief list of symptoms and signs of depression, for your information:
These symptoms are all connected to our emotions. A depressed person will experience feelings of sadness, and overall discouragement about life.
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in most areas of your life
- Periods of tearfulness and sadness
- Negative, discouraged patterns of thinking
- Feelings of being overwhelmed and not able to cope
- Excessive thoughts of guilt
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
The body responds in many different ways when a person is experiencing depression, it will also depend on the person's awareness of their body. Inactive people may not recognize the physical symptoms as soon as a physically active person.
- Unusual aches and pains
- Lack energy
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping to much
- No appetite or over eating patterns
Depression may affect a person's ability to think, focus on tasks and possible memory impairment.
- Difficulty making decisions
- Unable to recall recent events
- Slow and blurred ability to think
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Forgetting things that normally would not be an issue
It is important to understand that children, adolescents and adults may manifest symptoms that are different due to the developmental stages they are in. Although children experience many of the symptoms listed above, they do not have the ability to communicate what they may be feeling. Adlerian Psychologists believe all behaviour has a purpose and a goal. Childhood depression is different from normal mood swings and everyday emotions that occur in a child's development. If your child's sadness becomes on-going or if disruptive behaviour begins to impact normal developmental tasks such as school, friends or family life, it may be time to seek help.
Symptoms in Children:
- Vocal outbursts of sadness, anger or frustration that are beyond a normal range
- Acting out behaviours such as not listening, defiant and challenging behaviours
- Withdrawing from family, friends and activities they once enjoyed
- Physical complaints (stomachs, headaches or overall not feeling good)
While the above is not a complete list of symptoms of depression it is meant to provide a brief overview of concerning behaviours which may be present during a childhood depression.
It is difficult for adolescents to ask for help because of their growing need for independence. It is normal for teens to begin to break away from their parents and spend more time isolated in their rooms. Teens are vulnerable, due to physical and hormonal changes as their bodies begin to change. Most teens also struggle with issues of self-esteem, lack of verbal skills, new social experiences and a great need for peer acceptance.
Symptoms in Adolescents:
- Appetite difficulties: losing weight or overeating
- Defiant and rebellious
- Drinking or drugs
- Failing in school, loss of concentration and lacking motivation
- Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness
- Irritable and touchy
- Loss of energy and self neglect
- Loss of interest in favourite things
- Loss of interest in surroundings (their bedroom)
- Physical complaints (headaches, etc.)
- Sleep difficulties: insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Thoughts of suicide
Not all people who have depression will have all of these symptoms, or to the same degree. If you see yourself in more than 5 of these symptoms and they are not going away it may be time to refer yourself to a therapist who will work alongside your physician to support you.