Look after your mental health

October 9, 2014

I hope everyone is having a great October so far, getting a bit chilly at night now, can really feel the evenings closing in!!   I just wanted to welcome our new followers and thank our existing clients for their support, just a quick reminder to everyone who received a thank you voucher that they expire end of this month so please do book in or pass on the vouchers and avail of some me time :)

This month I wanted to touch on the subject of depression as there is still a stigma and silence surrounding depression as an illness.


What is depression?
Let’s start with what depression isn’t: a bad day, a brief period of mourning after a loss, or a pessimistic outlook on life. It consists of a period of more than two weeks of a bad mood, decreased interest in things that one normally finds enjoyable, and can also include fatigue, changes in weight, difficulty concentrating, inappropriate guilt, and even suicidal thoughts. While two weeks is the minimum length for defining depression, it can continue for months or even years.

Are there different kinds of depression?
Yes. Major depression is an episode of depression two weeks or longer that interferes with your ability to function throughout the day. People can have multiple episodes of major depression throughout their lives. Postpartum depression is a depressive episode that occurs after a woman has given birth. Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly abbreviated SAD) is a form of depression during the winter months, when there is less sunlight. Manic Depression (also called bipolar disorder) involves cycles of depressive lows and manic highs.

What are some of the health consequences of depression?
Aside from just feeling awful on an emotional level (entirely bad enough on its own), depression can also have other serious effects on a person’s health. People who suffer from depression are more likely to engage in negative habits such as smoking and excessive drinking. They are also less likely to get sufficient exercise, and are more likely to stop the physical activities they used to participate in. Depression can disturb sleep schedules and also negatively affect one’s professional and personal relationships, resulting in more stress, which leads to its own host of health issues.

So why aren’t we all talking about this?
Mental illness has always been something of a taboo subject. Those with more severe problems are seen as crazy and unstable, while those with more mild issues can be accused of making it up for attention, or using the term as an excuse for ordinary laziness. Depression doesn't receive the awareness campaigns, like HIV and Cancer, so we’re left without the sorts of public conversations that in turn become private ones between friends. It’s easy to ask a friend if she’s taking painkillers for her broken leg. Asking her if she’s considered anti-depressants? Not so much.
 
Is there anything that helps with depression?
Absolutely, and the first step is diagnosis.  A doctor will be able to speak intelligently about options like therapy, medication, and other treatments and lifestyle changes.
 
Oh, and you might also want to get a massage.
 
If you’re a regular recipient of massage, you can judge for yourself: is your mood improved after a massage? And if you haven’t received a massage lately (or ever!), this is a great opportunity. Do it for science! Or, do it for yourself. Because everyone deserves to feel better, including you.

Look after your mental health and those around you. 

Shelly x

 

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