According to Beyond Blue, the National Depression Initiative, Depression is the most common of all mental illnesses and affects one in five Australians.
Depression as a concept is not all that uncommon these days thank goodness. This has been largely due to media coverage in news items, television shows about the illness and many high profile people who have come out declaring that they have the illness.
But exactly what is depression? How can we define it for someone who may actually be experiencing it for the first time?
First of all, we should recognize that life is not a complete bed of roses. Everyone of us has emotional ups and downs that impact upon how we feel. Depression is the “downer” part of our feelings but not until certain criteria are fulfilled. Up until that stage, the term sad is more appropriate.
So what is depression? Well depression can best be summed up as prolonged periods of sadness, but of a deeper variety. Some people describe depression as being void of all feelings, of feeling nothing at all. Many symptoms can present themselves such as constant lethargy, ignoring personal hygiene, loss of interest in hobbies and other activities previously enjoyed, lack of motivation and an uncaring attitude to loved ones and friends.
This is not to say that all these symptoms need to be present, but if you recognize a few, then perhaps it's time to talk to an experienced professional about your state of mind.
Types of Depression
Depression doesn't necessarily come in the plain vanilla variety. There are several different types, often caused by different reasons. We shall try and cover some of them here.
1. Circumstantial Depression
Circumstantial depression is probably the most common form of the illness. It can strike anyone at any time, but it is the circumstances in which people find themselves that brings on the illness. It is quite normal to feel sad or depressed when you lose a loved one, your job or perhaps your business is threatened with financial hardship. Often the stress of these events can be overwhelming and depression can set in.
The good news is that this type of depression is completely treatable and will pass with both time and a resolution to the circumstances that you find yourself in.
2. Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression
Adjusting to life as a mother can be difficult for some women. It can involve a lot of stress. These depressive episodes are reasonably common in women and not to be ignored. In particular, post natal depression can have severe impacts on the care of the newborn child as well as the mother. Partners and family should be on the lookout for signs of such depression and assist in getting the mother to take action.
For more information on Post Natal & Ante Natal Depression you can visit the Beyond Blue website information on Post Natal and Ante Natal Depression or the Post and Ante Natal Depression Association (PANDA).
3. Chronic Depression
Chronic Depression is the worst form of depression because people who have this form have it for life. The most important thing in these cases is good management. Usually this involved medication and perhaps psychological intervention also to help the patient manage the illness. Most importantly though, you cannot do it by yourself. Help is needed to effectively generate improvement in your health and help you to live a relatively normal lifestyle.
Further Information On Depression
Following are some links where you can get further information about depression. Remember though that reading about it is important, but doing something about it is even more important.
The Loddon Shire Healthy Minds Network was formed in 2007 to actively pursue mental health issues as they related to residents of the entire Loddon Shire. As a very large rural shire, many mental health services available to city and regional residents were not available in Loddon. Many Loddon residents also did not know how to avail themselves of the services that were available in Bendigo and Melbourne.
The Healthy Minds Committee is auspiced by the Loddon Shire Council and therefore has the ability to raise issues at State Government level. Ultimately, it is the Victorian State Government that has responsibility for the availability and type of mental health services in Loddon and beyond.
In addition to the committee, there are Mental Health Support Groups in the Shire who provide information and raise issues concerning them about mental health in an overall capacity. The committee will then deal with these issues at an appropriate level and seek to have them resolved or acted upon.