Depression is common and has many forms. It is not the same as “feeling blue” or “being in a bad mood”. Depression can vary from mild to severe, affecting one’s ability to cope with daily activities and relationships. Depression is a complex issue that can be caused by various factors. If left un-checked, the feelings can worsen.

Changes in feelings and/or behaviors:

  • Reduced ability to find pleasure in anything, including sex.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or worthlessness; suicidal thoughts
  • Exaggerated sense of guilt or self-blame
  • Loss of warm feelings toward family and friends
  • Neglect of responsibility and appearance
  • Irritability, confusion, indecisiveness
  • Reduced ability to cope on a daily basis
  • Thoughts of suicide

Please note: if these symptoms are severe or an ongoing concern, consult your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Physical complaints:

  • Chronic fatigue and lack of energy
  • Significant change in appetite (decrease or increase)
  • Change in sleep (excessive sleeping or trouble with sleep)
  • Unexplained headaches, body aches, pain
  • Digestive problems, including stomach pain, nausea, indigestion

Some causes of depression:

  • Stress
  • Difficult or traumatic events; chronic stress
  • Substance use/abuse
  • Medical issues, sleep or nutrition issues
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Brain chemistry

What you can do:

  • Talk about it, learning that you are not alone
  • Consult with your health care professional
  • Remind yourself that healing takes time
  • Develop a wellness plan (you can do this with your counselor)
    • Physical self care (exercise; nutrition; sleep; reduce alcohol, drugs, caffeine)
    • Lifestyle habits (routines, goals; stress reduction; relaxation)
    • Emotional self-care (feel your feelings; self-forgiveness; professional help)
    • Social support (friends, family; colleagues)
    • Spiritual connection (prayer; meditation; community; find purpose/meaning)