Depression in young people may be hard to identify as how do you know if they are just in a bad mood or if they have depression. According to Dr Elaine Duncan, a Psychology lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University there is tell-tale signs which suggest depression. She says: “[Some of the signs to look out for are] persistent low mood, lose sense of reality, changes to sleep, behaviour, eating habits, feeling numb, no sense of hope, tearful, withdrawing socially, possibly self-harm, low self-esteem, difficulty focusing and thinking, physical aches and pains, lethargy.”
Depression does not only affect your mood but it could also impact who you are as a person as it can completely take over your life. Amy says: “It is something you are always working on and are constantly aware of. If I go out drinking on the Friday night and the Saturday night then I have to be wary because that can make me feel down for the next week because alcohol is a downer. So I think it makes you more aware of your actions and what you are doing to your body.”
There are various ways which can someone can seek help with their issues such as counselling, anti-depressants as well as new therapies including music therapy and relaxation. However, Dr Elaine Duncan says one of the most effective methods of dealing with depression is exercise. She says: “Being active has been proposed as a way to ward off depression as well as an option for those who are experiencing depression. The best research suggests that being active needs to be a regular activity and that if someone is engaging in exercise when suffering depression there can be some alleviation of the symptoms but the exercise needs to be a long-term maintained habit for the benefit of mood regulation rather than something that is not for the short-term.”
Depression is one of those things which never truly goes away. It is always there, sitting and waiting to catch you at your most vulnerable. Some days are better than others and sometimes it seems like there is no end to its fury. So the next time, you hear someone say they have depression do not say “pull yourself together”. Take a step back and think about Amy and the million other young people out there who live with depression and ask yourself how you would feel if someone said that to you.