Peace of Minds

I feel sad, depressed

Judgement or understanding?

For a long time, society, friends and family, and people suffering from depression made the mistake of making moral judgements about depression: psychological weakness, lack of willpower, guilt, letting oneself go…

Depression is a real illness, an illness that's invisible. People with depression should be viewed as overwhelmed by a suffering they didn't choose and that they would love to shake off.

Not every reaction of despondency or doubt when confronted with the difficulties of life is depression, but when a person loses their bearings completely and for a long time, it can be a genuine illness.

Symptoms of depression

Depression affects our ability to act, it changes our view of the world, disrupts our ability to interact with others. It makes us different to how we used to be. Knowing the symptoms of depression helps us to understand the way the illness can change a person.

    To make this diagnosis, the symptoms below must be daily, have lasted for at least two weeks, and represent a change from the usual way of being.
  • Emotional symptoms : either depressed mood, feelings of sadness or emptiness, virtually all day every day, or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.
  • Physical symptoms : slowing down, tiredness, loss of energy, but also sometimes agitation or tension. Changes in appetite (generally less appetite but sometimes more) and therefore in weight. Sleep disruption (generally less sleep but sometimes more).
  • Psychological symptoms : feelings of worthlessness or guilt, sometimes thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Cognitive symptoms : difficulty thinking, concentrating and making decisions.

What to do ?

Depression affects our ability to act, it changes our view of the world, disrupts our ability to interact with others. It makes us different to how we used to be. Knowing the symptoms of depression helps us to understand the way the illness can change a person.

A depression can last several months, as can its treatment...

In the absence of treatment, depression can last several months, sometimes more. In addition, untreated or poorly treated depressions are thought to recur more easily. Hence the importance of treatment, and the importance that the treatment is conducted in accordance with specific protocols (e.g. correct doses and duration, in particular).

Getting rid of preconceived ideas

Depression has always existed and it has always been a focus of judgment or preconceived ideas by society, the entourage, but also the sufferers themselves who often feel guilty:

  • The origins of depression are generally multiple, in other words, they arise from the accumulation of several factors: personal fragility (linked to the past, sometimes to heredity), traumatic or exhausting life events, and a few triggers that play the role of the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • We believe that certain personality traits (lack of self-confidence, excessive dependence on others) can represent a risk. Likewise, life events, such as loss of a loved one, unemployment, major financial difficulties, are often correlated with an increased risk of depression. Physical illness, especially if it is life threatening, painful or chronic (diabetes, cancer), and of course, all forms of psychological suffering (alcoholism, anxiety and serious phobias) will also weaken and wear down the person, and often complicate depression. We also suspect certain childhood events (losing a parent at a very young age, physical abuse, or emotional deprivation) of facilitating depression in the adolescent or the adult many years later.
  • Knowing where the depression comes from helps to prevent it from recurring and to decide what you can try to do next: change your way of seeing, living, feeling; change what's happening in your life, your relationships, your way of working...
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Accepting the idea of ​​treatment

If your doctor confirms the diagnosis of depressive illness, you will often have to follow a treatment with drugs. Antidepressants give doctors effective and increasingly well-tolerated tools that allow depressed patients to lead a normal life. Treatment will generally last several months, sometimes a whole year, or even more.

    Three main benefits can be expected from treatment.
  • Psychological symptoms : feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sometimes ideas of death or suicide.
  • Reducing mental suffering
  • A return to action : drugs will gradually help you to get on with your daily life: getting up, washing, chatting, working, will all become possible again, without having to draw on all your energy every time you try to do something that's simple for others.
  • The potential for pleasure : gradually, the 'emotional numbness' (incapacity to feel desire or pleasure) recedes and the agreeable sensations of everyday life return.

Facing up to suicidal thoughts

Depression changes our view of the world, makes us ultra aware of everything that's wrong both with us and around us, and blind to what's good. As we also feel at the end of our tether and unable to cope or change the course of events, despair can rapidly take over.

When you suffer from depression, you feel hopeless and see no way out of your problems. It is this loss of hope that is considered one of the main risk factors for suicide.

Depression comes with all degrees of dark thoughts: ideas that it would be easier if you were dead (tired of living rather than wanting to die), vague passing thoughts of death, or outright suicidal thoughts. When the latter become obsessive and start to become concrete (specific plans to end it all), it's better for the depressed person is hospitalized.

What can I do?

It's vital for depressed people to talk about these ideas of death and not to keep them to oneself because depression is pernicious and alters our capacity to step back and reason. Suicidal thoughts put the depressed person in great danger. If you don't want to be a burden to your loved ones or to worry them, it's urgent to talk about it with your doctor.