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Depression is, thankfully, being talked about more and more. It’s being recognized as a significant mental health condition that can affect anyone, at any stage of life. While we all experience the natural ups and downs of life, it’s important to recognize when real depression sets in.
If you’re concerned about your own mental health or that of someone you care about, asking these six simple questions can give you a good indication of whether it’s time to seek help.
Have you been struggling for two weeks (or longer) with feelings of depression?
If you think it’s been more than two weeks since you started feeling depressed, it’s a good idea to reach out and get some professional support now. The sooner you’re able to seek advice and start managing your symptoms, the sooner you’ll be able to recover.
Is your depression having an impact on your physical health?
Depression isn’t only about mental health. It also has the capacity to affect your physical well-being. You may find that it has physical impacts like causing sleep difficulties, exhaustion, headaches, muscle aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems, appetite changes, or just general feelings of being run down or sick.
Consider whether you think your mental health is impacting your physical health. If it is, it’s a sign that i’ts time to talk with a professional and start managing your recovery.
Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning?
When depression is in the picture, getting out of bed in the morning can feel like the hardest task in the world. Depression can make it hard to enjoy the things you used to enjoy, making it hard to find the motivation to start the day. Also, sleeping difficulties might be leaving you feeling exhausted from the moment you wake up. It can also be hard to get out of bed if you’re struggling with feelings of low confidence at the idea of performing at work (or school or social occasions). If these feelings sound familiar, it’s time to reach out for support. And remember – there are lots of people who can help you so you don’t have to feel this way.
Is depression impacting your relationships with others?
Do you find yourself feeling agitated or short-tempered? Or do you find that you’re withdrawing and avoiding family and friends? If this is the case, it can mean that you need professional help to get you back to feeling like your normal self.
Are you ‘self-medicating’ with alcohol or other drugs?
Alcohol, alongside many other drugs, can exacerbate feelings of depression. While it may seem like a solution, it isn’t, and it’s important to interrupt this behavior and get the help that you need. With proper support, you can move away from using drugs and alcohol to try to feel better.
Have you considered or attempted self-harm or suicide?
If the answer is yes, seek immediate treatment. If you’re having thoughts of wanting to harm yourself, there are people who can help you understand and recover from these feelings and who will support you as you regain your mental health and recover from depression.
Depression can feel isolating and overwhelming. But help is available at all stages of your recovery – whether you need immediate assistance or ongoing support. Please don’t feel alone – there are people who can help you.
- In the case of an emergency and you’re in Australia, call Triple Zero (000). In the United States, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- If you require urgent support and you’re in Australia, call the Beyondblue Support Service – they’re available 24/7 and can be reached on 1300 224 636. In the U.S., call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1800-662-4357.
- If you’ve recognized that you need support with your mental health, visit your local doctor. They will be able to talk you through the options available to you and refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other qualified professional who can provide you with the help you need.
If you’re struggling with depression, reach out to your healthcare provider or a mental health clinic near you and get the help you need to make you feel your best.