Depression & Low-Mood

Depression and low-mood comes in many forms and for different potential reasons. There may be a biological, situational or reactive trigger for what's going on for you.

We need to find out what applies to you so we can develop a way forward through the labyrinth.

Talking to us may help unlock the answer. It might not be immediate, but it could be significant. Every journey starts with a first step.

The following extract comes from The Crisis Book, reproduced with thanks and permission.

Feeling low or sad is something we all feel at times. It’s our body’s natural retreating response to certain difficult situations. Normally, this doesn’t last long and we’ll soon be back to our old selves. Sometimes it can be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

There are, however, ways through depression.

Identify the cause. Is there an obvious trigger for how you feel? Often, feeling down is a normal response to something sad. Just knowing why you’re feeling depressed can help. Perhaps there could be a series of interconnected causes?

Exercise. Physical exertion releases endorphins in the brain that can help to improve mood. Exercising with others can provide social contact, which can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Diet. Having a balanced, healthy diet can make you feel good and improves your sense of well-being. But eating loads of fatty, sweet or salty food forces the body to work much harder and can contribute to an increase in weight, illness, apathy and general sluggishness.

Weight. Being overweight (and underweight) can put a strain on your body. Not only can this make it difficult to maintain a normal level of functioning, but you may become further depressed by associated feelings of low self-confidence and self-worth.

Work. A job (whether paid or not) provides routine and purpose, something to get up for in the morning, a personal identity in the job you do, social contact with others, structure to your life and an income that gives financial security. Work is usually good for you.

Alcohol. Many of us drink alcohol to relax. But alcohol’s also a depressant. So if you’re drinking because you’re already depressed, it won’t help. It’ll not only make you feel more depressed, but it could become something you rely on more, both physically and psychologically. Managing depression can be tough enough without adding an addiction to it.

Drugs. There’s a link between recreational drug use and depression. Drugs might alter your mood for the short time of the “high”, but there will always be some “down” response. What goes up, must come down. The craving can increase in an effort to seek a greater effect. It can lead to addiction.

Therapy. Sometimes you may not understand why you’re depressed or you won’t know what to do about it. Talking to a therapist can help to find the source or just to find ways to help you cope better with it. Also, talking to others who share similar struggles can help in letting you know that you’re not on your own.

Doctor. Your medical doctor is responsible for your healthcare and that includes your mental health. It’s important that they’re aware of any depression you might have. They’ll also have some options for you and sometimes a combination of medication, counselling and self-help can work well. Avoid sleeping pills, as this can create addiction and rarely deals with the underlying cause of depression.