Whilst in a depressive state, it might be the easiest thing to sit back and do nothing to help yourself while negative thoughts and behaviour patterns continue to spiral out of control. However, a recent article suggests that the effects of depression extend to those surrounding the suffering individual.
One in six people in the UK will suffer from depression at some time in their life. This statistic would quite strongly suggest that we all know someone who is tackling such a mental illness, diagnosed or not.
Whilst in a depressive state, it might be the easiest thing to sit back and do nothing to help yourself while negative thoughts and behaviour patterns continue to spiral out of control. Similarly, having empathy and showing awareness of the extent to which those dearest to us are affected by these long spells of depression, might be difficult. However, a recent article suggests that the effects of depression extend to those surrounding the suffering individual.
As with other mental health issues, depression can cause the sufferer’s behaviours and lifestyle to change profoundly. Some of these include a pessimistic thinking style, poor memory, physical discomfort, restlessness and disrupted sleep patterns. For the depressed person, appetite for life simply feels absent, and things that would ordinarily feel pleasurable, such as eating, sex, and social interaction, no longer provide enjoyment. To add to this, the individual may begin to isolate and break away from friends and family, as it can feel as though one’s ability to communicate is impaired. Naturally the isolation fuels the depression and supports negative thoughts around the self, the environment, and one’s future. The depressed person will often believe that something about them is fundamentally flawed and unworthy. This negative self-belief is often inadvertently confirmed by friends and family who may find being around the depression very difficult, and consequently distance themselves. While in a depressed state, it can be difficult to remain objective and see this withdrawal as a response to the difficulty of the depression, and not the person.
Mental illness does not happen in a vacuum and in isolation. A depressed family member will affect the entire family, and therefore communication and willingness to reach for help is crucial. Breaking through to a loved one suffering with depression may not be easy, but the consequence of a mental illness going untreated can be grave. In some cases depression can drive the sufferer to self medicate by turning to substance abuse. However, with communication and open dialogue depression need not develop into addiction. With a strong mood disorder programme, or a specific Depression treatment programme as practiced by Life Works a depression can be managed and quality of life can be restored.