Depression is an affective disorder. It affects your mood, emotions and feelings and it can feel like you’re covered by a gloomy, grey blanket. You’re struggling with this almost every day and you no longer feel like doing anything. This can have a profound impact on your life. It’s also possible for you to develop physical complaints, or that you can no longer properly focus on your work or studies. Ignoring the symptoms for too long can eventually lead to a complete burnout. It can take weeks, months, or even years to recover from depression. This will depend on several factors, like your character traits, an underlying brain disorder, the seriousness of the event(s) in your life, the size and closeness of your network and other social and/or biological factors. Has your depression lasted several years and does it come back in periods? Then this is what’s referred to as chronic depression. Once depression has been diagnosed, a great deal of work needs to go into avoiding a relapse, as the risk of this is very high.
There are two main symptoms of depression:
- You feel down almost every day for more than two weeks.
- You hardly ever have fun and you don’t feel like doing anything.
You may suffer from other symptoms too, like:
- Physical complaints. Muscle pain, back pain and/or headaches.
- Feelings of guilt, feeling like you’re redundant and feeling worthless.
- Restlessness, irritation and sluggishness.
- Indecisiveness and reduced to strongly decreased concentration.
- Reduced appetite and/or taste.
- Or actually an increased appetite. Resulting in you gaining weight quickly.
- Tiredness and a disturbed sleep rhythm. For example, you’re either sleeping badly or sleeping all the time.
- Not in the mood for sex.
- Crying fits.
You may also find life difficult and long for it all to end. This can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.
We recommend getting in touch with your GP if you have any depressive symptoms. You can discuss which steps need to be taken together.
The following are important for your recovery:
- Add structure to your day by getting up on time, taking breaks at set times and going to bed on time.
- Allow yourself some rest and time. Fighting the symptoms and simply keeping going won’t help at all.
- Stay active. Exercise for half an hour every day and try to do work that you feel you can handle. Discuss this with your employer or company doctor. This also applies to your household and ask for help from others when necessary.
- Stay in contact with other people, like friends and/or family. Do you have a limited network? Then get in touch with your municipality. They employ social workers who can help you strengthen or broaden your network. They may also be able to provide you with help in relation to finance, relationships, parenting and other areas of your life. They will refer you to the appropriate aid organisation if necessary.
You need to go and see your GP if you suspect you're suffering from depression. You can schedule an appointment with your GP and/or practice nurse. You can discuss which steps need to be taken together. Consultations with a psychologist (psychotherapy) are also possible if the depression is severe or doesn’t go away and you may be given medication too. Do you often think about death and/or do you already have plans to end your life? Then immediately call the helpline 0900-0113 or your GP.