Help for Depression

Depression is not ‘feeling down’ or ‘sad’!

Depression (clinical depression) is a physical illness which affects a person mentally and takes away hope, dreams, confidence, strength and much more! A person who has no ‘feel good chemicals’ simply isn’t able to feel good.

To a person who is clinically depressed it can be extremely hurtful and frustrating to be told to  ‘just do something to cheer yourself up!’ or any other ‘just…….’  That may work if a person is simply feeling low, but believe me, in clinical depression the person simply does not HAVE the chemicals available to smile, feel better or even imagine feeling better!

Prescription Medicine for Depression

Many GP’s hand out prescriptions for anti-depressants when their patient is experiencing emotional ups and downs, moodiness, sadness or some unfortunate event in their lives. Anti-depressants, in my view, should only be used when there is an actual chemical imbalance which is creating Clinical Depression (I use the term ‘chemical’ imbalance to describe hormonal / endocrine or other imbalances in brain chemistry).
Too many anti-depressants are handed out for ‘sadness’ when they are meant for people with serotonin imbalances!

Definition of Depression

It never ceases to amaze me how little some people, especially when they are professionals,  seem to understand about depression! It is made worse by the fact that we tend to use this one word to describe many different things.

Sadness, or ‘feeling down’ can be a symptom of depression, but feeling miserable is not “depression”.

The word ‘Depressed’ in the online dictionary is defined as: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, gloominess, dejection, downheartedness, despondency, dispiritedness, low spirits, heavy-heartedness, moroseness, discouragement, despair, desolation, dolefulness, moodiness, pessimism, hopelessness; the slough of despond; upset, tearfulness.

Clinical Depression is something different. It is described as: endogenous depression, reactive depression, postnatal depression, dysthymia, melancholia;


How do you know the difference between Clinical Depression and ‘feeling depressed’?

If you are feeling down about a particular issue, event or situation, it is likely that you are not suffering from depression in a clinical sense.

Here are some of the questions I might ask a client:

Is this issue that is bothering you something you cope with sometimes and other times it is just ‘too much’? 

Physical imbalances will often be worse at some times and not others. An obvious example would be during premenstrual phases, after childbirth, etc. What many people don’t realise is that the food they eat also affects the chemistry in the body. Gut bacteria has a huge impact on our health including moods and mental abilities!
(There is a plethora of books available to read on the subject as well as researched and documented information online if you search for it).

How long have you suffered from depression or mood disorders?

Clinical Depression, Anxiety and other mood disorders will often be something that has been experienced for a long period, often since teen years, and made worse by distressing life events.

Do you also find yourself getting extremely irritable?

Clinical Depression and irritability often go hand in hand as the body chemistry fluctuates.

How have you coped with stress in the past?

A client’s history will often reveal the type of ‘depression’ they are suffering from.

What makes you feel better?

Very often clinically depressed patients will say ‘nothing’! Not a good sign! If this is you, get some help now!

Do you feel that life isn’t worth living?

This isn’t the place for a philosophical discussion about what life is all about – however, there is a difference between a philosophical question and feeling suicidal. Our natural human desire is to survive, have hope and try to make things better. Giving up is a sign that your brain and body are stressed and struggling to cope. Feeling suicidal is a definite indicator that you need to get help now, even if you feel you ‘will never actually do it’.

Getting Treatment for Depression

For a clinically depressed person, asking for help can be difficult. It requires energy, hope and a belief that things can get better. All of which a clinically depressed person may not not have! If you have a friend or relative suffering like this, do all you can to encourage them to get outside professional help. Try not to get discouraged when they are unable to help themselves, and please, please, don’t say things like “well, if you can’t help yourself then …….!” as if they had a choice. In many instances, they don’t. Sometimes you have to be pro-active and do what it takes.

Please be kind to people with depression, and if you have depression, know that you CAN get well.  You CAN feel good feelings again.



The mind is a wonderful slave, but a terrible master! In order to be the master of our lives and destinies, we must first become master of our own minds!


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