Depression is the second-most common mental health condition, affecting between 6-10% of the general population at any one time, and is perhaps the most misunderstood. A person might refer to themselves as “depressed” if they are feeling “bummed”, whereas another may be depressed to the point of being unable to eat, sleep, go to work or socialize. Complicating matters, there are different degrees of depression, different types of depression and symptoms also vary from person to person.
Regardless, there are some telltale signs and symptoms that indicate that you may be depressed:
The presence of suicidal thoughts or feelings is serious and requires immediate help. If you are in British Columbia, call 1-800-SUICIDE, available 24/7. A trained suicide response worker will help assess your risk and link you with the appropriate help. Calls from concerned family members or friends are also welcome. Elsewhere, contact your local distress line.
To date, no research has been able to definitively identify a single cause of depression. The way that depression manifests varies, as does the characteristics of those who are afflicted, leading to a complex mix of factors. What can be said is that biological, genetic, social and psychological factors all seem to play a role. Some believe in the “stress-diathesis” model, which suggests that some human beings are biologically pre-programmed towards depression, but that a stressful event, or combination of triggers is what “activates” the person’s biology and triggers a depressive episode.
Most of us know depressed people who come from a long line of depressed family members, others know of people who have become clinically depressed following a divorce, restructuring at work or physical health problems. Research also has been demonstrating that the experience of trauma, especially in the first few years of life, produces structural changes in the brain that increase vulnerability to depression.
When you’re depressed it can seem almost impossible to imagine that something can be done to help you. Depression by its very nature is isolating, or what is sometimes referred to as “the dark night of the soul.” Over the years I have seen and helped many people recover from depression, including severe depressive episodes. If you would like to take the first step and start your healing journey, I invite you to contact me today. Or, learn more about my approach for helping with depression as well as other available treatment methods. I also invite you to check out my tips for helping with depression.
Feeling bad about so-called “unacceptable” feelings and what to do about them.
Talking about ways of working with worry so that it doesn’t overwhelm. A follow up article to When Worry Takes Hold, Part 1.
Some observations about worry and some options for change.
Practical suggestions for eating when your mood is low.
A rundown on one of my favourite therapies.
Much of the information on depression highlights its signs and symptoms. While important, what is often missing is the impact of these symptoms on the affected person’s life.
Understanding treatment options for depression.
The best strategies for dealing with depression often come from those with lived experience and have wisdom to share. A few counsellor tips are thrown in too.
In reprint since 1980, this book helps the reader to identify and combat negative thought patterns that ultimately lower mood. This book introduced the public to the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
Although two decades old, this oft-quoted book covers a lot of ground by understanding women’s moods across the life cycle. The authors also introduce readers to their self-care mood management program.
Also includes chapters on childbearing loss and raising children with disabilities.
Randy Patterson, a Vancouver psychologist, shows how to map a picture of your own unique depression and take steps to treat it.
Telephone coaching for people with mild-moderate depression with or without accompanying anxiety. Coaching available in English, Cantonese, French and Punjabi. Family doctor’s referral required to access this program. Free.
A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.
For help in locating a family doctor in BC.
Concerned about your drinking? Confidential and anonymous online assessment tool developed at the University of Victoria.
Online self-help program for depression and anxiety, using cognitive behavioural principles (CBT).
From the people at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA).
National organization promoting mental health for all.
604-675-3700 – Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre, Vancouver Hospital, Level 1, East Entrance
24/7 phone, walk-in and outreach support for urgent, non life-threatening mental health and addictions issues.
BC-based website offering comprehensive information on a wealth of mental health conditions and addictions concerns.
24-7 crisis service for anyone that is suicidal, thinking about suicide or for concerned friends/family. BC-wide service.
Works to reduce suicide risk among those in crisis, to assist family & friends who care about them and promote healing for those bereaved by suicide.
Self-help guide (pdf). Not intended to replace professional help.
Free self-care manual for depression, available in several languages. Persons with major depression should also seek help from a physician and/or professional counselling.
604-873-0103 – Support groups, education, info and referral to people living with depression or bipolar disorder and their supporters. The MDA also has a counselling clinic.