Depression Fact #5

Alcohol and marijuana are depressants. As much as we want to lean into the argument that having a glass of wine relaxes us or that marijuana has beneficial effects, it can’t take away the fact that both alcohol and marijuana depress the brain. Seems pretty counter intuitive when dealing with depression doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, self-medicating is not going to get you well; you are much better served to talk to your doctor about medication therapy, seek counselling, and get outside into nature on a daily basis.

Photo credit: http://Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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Depression Fact # 4

Chronic pain can result in depression. Actually, so can having a chronic condition. Sometimes we don’t realize how being in continual discomfort can cause us to become depressed. We may choose to stay home one day due to increased pain levels; heightening the isolation factor. We may have to cancel plans because we are experiencing a flare up; leading to feelings of discouragement and disappointment. Potentially, we become so focused on what our physical bodies are putting us through that we may not realize the toll it is taking on our mental health as well; leading us to find ways to manage our chronic pain/condition that includes our emotional health as well.

A great online course that helps with this very topic is found through Living Healthy Champlain: https://www.livinghealthychamplain.ca/en/betterchoicesbetterhealth

If you would like more information about depression: http://depressionhurts.ca/en/default.aspx

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Depression Fact #3

Persistent irritability can be a symptom of depression. Typically when we think of depression we tend to consider first the classic symptoms of depression such as low mood and motivation, changes to our sleeping and eating habits, etc., yet irritability can be an indication that you are depressed; especially if it is persistent.  This can be especially true for men, who may not show the visible signs of emotion linked to depression; the same goes for children or adolescents who may act out behaviourally as an indication that something is wrong.  In any case, if depressive symptoms are interfering with the day-to-day functioning of your life, a proper diagnosis is important.

For more information about the symptoms and treatment of depression: http://depressionhurts.ca/en/

Photo credit: http://Photo by FuYong Hua on Unsplash

Depression Fact #2

Depression is sometimes experienced as anxiety. Because depression and anxiety share the same biological basis, people often can experience symptoms and not be entirely sure of the direct cause. Feeling nervous and irritable for example, can lead one to thinking they may have anxiety, but those are common in depression as well. Lack of concentration and difficulty sleeping can also indicate depression; very often if what we associate to depression (sleeping all the time and low mood) are not directly present, we may in fact be blue but are experiencing it as anxiety. Either way, figuring out this mixed bag of symptoms begins with the same question: “Is this affecting my day-to-day function?” And if it is, an accurate diagnosis is important.

A good self-help website for depression and anxiety: https://moodgym.com.au/

Photo credit: http://Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

A Great Resource

A website recently came to my attention. It is called Big White Wall and it is an online peer support and self-management tool for youth 16+ and adults experiencing mild to moderate depression and anxiety. What I really liked about it was that it is available around the clock, it is anonymous, and is staffed by “Wall Guides” who make sure the community is safe and supportive. They have a section where you can post questions and get feedback, a creative section where you can post pics and see other people’s contributions as well, a section called “Useful Stuff” which has many articles to choose from, and a section where you can sign up for courses (usually 3 to 4 weeks) on a variety of topics. All completely free to those living in Ontario!

These are some of the stats:

  • 70% of users saw improvement in at least one aspect of their well-being
  • 46% of users reported sharing an issue for the first time
  • 51% of users reported less mental health-related time off work using Big White Wall.

Here’s the link: https://www.bigwhitewall.ca/v2/Home.aspx

Photo credit: http://Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Depression Fact #1

Depression makes it hard to give. I often see clients who come into therapy because they live with a person who is struggling with depression and they are looking for ways to cope. One of the things that is quite common to hear is their perspective that their loved one “doesn’t contribute very much” which in turn places a greater weight on them to manage the household and family. And, as sympathetic as they attempt to be, resentment eventually plays a role in the dynamic between them.

The fact is, sometimes it is hard to think of other people when you’re wrapped in a prickly blanket of sadness, and yet being able to invest in others, to minister to not only your family but to the community as well (even in small ways), helps to lift that weighted blanket. In turn, it often takes only a little bit of give for the loved one to begin to move from their own growing feelings of exasperation and withdrawal to one of greater hope and reciprocity.

Follow the link for a great self-help guide for depression and anxiety: https://www.moodgym.com.au/

Photo credit: http://Photo by Nicole Wilcox on Unsplash