All of us at some point in our lives have felt down or flat for a time and this is completely normal. Moods fluctuate according to what is going on in our lives as well in response to hormones, diet and everyday stress. People dealing with having lost a loved family member or pet naturally go through a period of sadness due to mourning. People experiencing significant relationship issues or loss of employment may understandably feel a knock to their mood and self-esteem.
Clinical depression can be distinguished from normal ups and downs of mood or grief. Depression involves not only feeling extreme sadness for a protracted period of time (more than two weeks) but by a complete lack of energy, motivation and interest in things which you would normally find enjoyable. It involves changes in sleep, appetite and cognitive functioning - so it’s difficult to think, concentrate, remember things and make decisions. The future seems bleak and thoughts of suicide can enter the mind. (If these thoughts feel overwhelming right now and it is outside business hours we recommend you call Lifeline on 131114 or NSW Mental Health Emergency 1800 011 511 both are crisis services available 24/7 and will support you through the current feelings until you can obtain an appointment).
Depression is caused by a number of factors including heredity, brain chemistry changes, stressors - usually a range of different stressors occurring at once, in quick succession or are long-term and seem unable to be resolved - personality (sensitive, perfectionistic). In some cases those going through multiple long-term stressors develop a sense of helplessness, become pessimistic expecting negativity in their life and this leads to depression.
It is important to seek professional intervention for depression as it is not likely to shift without help. BayWellbeing therapists are highly experienced in working with depression and use a combination of support, skills and reflection to assist clients to make shifts in all symptoms toward increasing their functioning, mood and enjoyment in life.