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What is Depression? 

Depression is a common mental disorder that affects how you feel, think, and behave. It can cause persistent and intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy. Depression can also interfere with your daily functioning and reduce your quality of life.

Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a complex condition that has biological, psychological, and social factors. Sometimes, depression can be triggered by stressful or traumatic life events, such as losing a loved one, going through a divorce, or facing financial difficulties. Other times, depression can occur without any obvious reason or trigger.

Sad Dog wrapped in a blanket

Depression can vary in severity and duration. Some people may experience mild or moderate depression that lasts for a few weeks or months. Others may suffer from severe or chronic depression that lasts for years or recurs frequently. Severe depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder, is a serious mental illness that requires professional treatment. Major depression can affect your mood, thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It can also increase your risk of suicide and other health problems.

If you think you may have depression, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Depression is treatable and there are effective options available. These include psychotherapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and other interventions. With proper treatment and support, you can overcome depression and regain your happiness and well-being.

Signs of Depression

  • Feeling miserable: A pervasive sense of unhappiness that lasts for at least a week or two. The individual appears sad and down, often crying frequently.

  • Loss of interest or pleasure: Disinterest or lack of enjoyment in activities that were once pleasurable.

  • Loss of appetite and significant weight loss: A decrease in appetite leading to substantial weight loss (e.g., 2-3 kgs or more).

  • Loss of interest in sex: Decreased libido and disengagement from sexual activities.

  • Loss of energy: Persistent fatigue and lack of energy, even when physically inactive.

  • Sleep disturbances: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restless and unsatisfying sleep with early morning awakening (1-2 hours earlier than usual). Some individuals, however, may experience excessive sleep.

  • Excessive worrying: Persistent concerns about trivial matters.

  • Cognitive difficulties: Slowed or inefficient thinking, difficulty concentrating, and trouble solving problems or making decisions.

  • Recurring negative thoughts: Unpleasant thoughts centered around guilt, self-deprecation, and thoughts of death.

  • Reduced physical activity and speech: Slowed physical movements and speech patterns.

  • Intense fearfulness: Excessive and irrational fears about people, places, and things, leading to withdrawal from daily activities and social interactions.

  • Auditory hallucinations: Hearing voices that make unpleasant remarks, even when no one is present.

Any of these features may serve as a warning signal of depression although many may also occur in disorders other than depression, and not everyone will experience all the symptoms. 

Treatment of Depression

The good news is, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression. A range of effective options exists, tailored to your individual needs and preferences. Here's a glimpse into some of the most common:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy empowers you to identify and challenge negative thought patterns that contribute to depression. By learning practical coping mechanisms and developing healthier thinking habits, you can gradually regain control over your emotions and outlook.

  • Schema Therapy: This approach delves deeper into the root causes of depression, exploring unhelpful patterns learned in early life that may be unconsciously driving your current struggles. Through schema therapy, you can understand and rewrite these limiting beliefs, paving the way for lasting change.

  • Medication: Antidepressants can be a valuable tool in managing depression symptoms, especially when combined with therapy. Remember, medication doesn't aim to "cure" depression, but rather works to regulate brain chemicals and alleviate debilitating symptoms, facilitating your journey towards recovery.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Alongside therapy or medication, adopting healthy habits can significantly boost your mood and well-being. Prioritizing quality sleep, regular exercise, nutritious meals, and meaningful social connections creates a nurturing environment for healing and growth.

Remember: There's no shame in seeking help. Reach out to a trusted healthcare professional or therapist to explore the best treatment options for you.

Beyond Therapy

While therapy plays a crucial role in recovering from depression, your journey to well-being extends beyond the therapist's office. Explore complementary practices that can empower you to manage your symptoms and cultivate inner peace:

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and cultivate a sense of inner calm.

  • Building a Support System: Connect with loved ones who understand and offer emotional support. Building a network of people who care about you can be a powerful source of strength and comfort throughout your journey.

Want to find out more?

Depression may feel overwhelming, but remember, you don't have to face it alone. With the right support, guidance, and self-compassion, you can navigate this challenging phase and rediscover the joy and purpose in life. Take the first step today and reach out for help. You deserve to feel better, and the path to recovery is within your reach.

To learn more or to enquire about our Depression support, contact us at:, or give us a call on (02) 9555 4810.

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