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Coping with Life's Struggles: Depression

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Everyone goes through tough times at different points in their lives and feels down or sad. The term depression is sometimes used to describe the normal sadness or low mood people feel if they've had to cope with a stressful event or problem, such as the death of a loved one or a relationship break-up. Depression is also the name for an illness that is more severe than normal sadness, lasts longer than two weeks, and interferes with other parts of your life, such as work, school or relationships.

Some factors that may cause depression:
• Genetics or a history of depression within your family.
• Biochemical: where the mood regulating neurotransmitters fail to function normally.
• A stressful event or chain of events: family break-up, abuse, ongoing bullying at school, rape, a death, a relationship break up, family conflict
• Some personality types are more at risk of depression than others: people who tend to be anxious, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists or are shy.
• Having a baby (called post-natal depression).
• Other mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

Some common symptoms across all types of depression include:


Feeling sad, moody, hopeless, helpless, numb, empty, anxious, and guilty, blaming yourself or being unable to feel good or enjoy things that you do normally


Being overly self-critical; believing you can't cope and that things are out of your control; difficulty making decisions and thinking clearly; poor concentrating and memory; thinking about suicide or ending your life


Lack of motivation and energy; crying a lot; losing interest in activities you usually enjoy; withdrawing from your friends and family or being overly dependent on them; increased use of alcohol or other drugs; losing your temper more than usual


Loss of appetite or over-eating; changes in sleep patterns - difficulty getting to sleep, waking up in the middle of the night or sleeping for longer; headaches or stomach aches; feeling physically sick; lack of interest in physical intimacy Everyone experiences some of these feelings or behaviours from time to time. However, for people experiencing depression the feelings might be more severe and they do not go away over time.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing depression it is a good idea to see your local doctor or a counsellor. The Greek Welfare Centre can assist with assessment, counselling and referral to specialist services.

Useful websites:

* beyond blue
* good therapy
* natural theraphy pages