Almost everyone has days when they feel "blue," "down," or depressed. The world looks forbidding. Life is a struggle. Nothing comes easily. We lose confidence in our ability to do things, and we may lose confidence in ourselves. For most of us these days pass and we understand that mood changes are part of the normal round of living and coping with the daily problems and worries of life. Unfortunately for some, these days become the norm, not the exception, and they do not pass but last from day to day. The depression becomes so deep that they cannot "snap themselves out of it". They feel hopeless and worthless and even unwilling or unable to ask for help. The thought of suicide may enter their minds, although only a few do anything about it. This is a serious state of depression that requires outside help.
Signs of Depression
If some of the following signs are evident all day, nearly every day and are apparent to the individual themselves, or to others; have been present for a two week period; and represents a change from previous functioning; the individual should seek help:
- inability to make decisions, diminished ability to think or concentrate
- sleeplessness, characterized by early morning waking and restlessness
- anxiety, especially in the first half of the day
- loss of interest in things that used to be interesting, including loss of appetite in food and sex
- upsets in the physical system like constipation
- extreme preoccupation with the past, with guilt and about failures or inadequacies, feelings of worthlessness
- gloomy, pessimistic mood, with sadness and the inability to restrain tears, recurrent thoughts of death
- psychomotor agitation or retardation
- fatigue or loss of energy
What can be done?
If there is evidence of a depression being deeper and lasting longer than normal mood swings, it should not be ignored. If the majority of the signs above are evident, then professional help should be sought immediately. Contact the Counsellor, Nurse, Physician, or Alberta Mental Health without delay. Emergency help can be attained through the Hospital. Whichever you choose, it is important to act as quickly as possible. Early intervention usually means more rapid recovery.