This the second of two posts of a few jumbled up notes from a seminar on depression. This section looks at the medical side of things, and was given by a Christian GP.

This GP said around 80% of her patients were stress/emotion/anxiety related cases. Now, stress is needed in balance. Too little and we’re lazy, slack. The right amount and we perform well and stay alert.
Stress often comes in the form of adjustment reactions, which can be caused by any loss or change. Depression is often multi-factorial, i.e. it’s not simply caused by just one thing. There may be a history of it, genetics, triggers. We’ve all felt sadness and lowness, not feeling great about ourselves, depression is just different in volume and length of time. Often it’s typified as 2 weeks of persistent low-mood.

What do you feel/think?
Sleep disturbance; early waking; appetite disturbance; being ‘so tired’; lack of energy; not making an effort on appearance; how we treat ourselves; very negative thinking: ‘I’m no good’; lack of concentration…

Often if we’re physically unwell it will effect how we feel, and vice-versa.

Healthy habits…
Exercise (endorphins); eating good food; rest/sleep (‘sleep hygiene’: waking up at same time every day but only going to bed when feeling tired); expressing emotion; support/family/friends; achieving things; being creative; being outside (1o mins outside – 3hrs uplifted!); knowing it’s ok to laugh/cry.

Negative habits…
Social isolation; alchohol; drugs; spending £££; deliberate self-harm (although this is often a logical progression from wanting to feel physically the distress you feel inside); guilt…

Remember, life is full of little pleasures! Here’s an example to get you thinking and delighting in small things.

Getting better…
Support and love – it’s important to feel safe. We need 20 strokes a day! Hug, touch, physical support, feeling loved. Counselling – talking through things. Realigning your thinking (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), i.e. helping people to look at their negative thinking. Medication… we don’t say you shouldn’t put a plaster on when you get cut, yet we seem to think medication for depression is wrong. Why!? Medication will stimulate the brain to make more of what it needs, and maintained treatment (usually 6 months min.) allows body to get used to it thus acting as a safety net.