must be few people who always feel good about themselves and are completely
satisfied with their lives. For others life is more of a struggle. At times
they feel complete despair. It is this last group who can be said to be
sDisliking or even hating yourself.
sDisliking or hating people in
sBeing preoccupied with negative
thoughts and seeing the worst in everything.
sRather than feeling alive with
anger or grief you are more likely to feel numb,
empty and despondent.
sBlaming yourself and feeling
unnecessarily guilty about things.
sFinding it is an effort to do the
simplest tasks. This can include difficulties with
concentration and making decisions, even
about the smallest things.
sYour sleep pattern in likely to
change. You may wake up early in the mornings
and not be able to go back to sleep for
longer than usual. Similarly with eating.
You may stuff yourself with food and put on
weight, or not bother to eat
properly and lose weight.
sUsing more tobacco, alcohol or
other drugs than usual.
sCutting yourself off from others
rather than asking for help.
mildest form depression does not stop you from leading your normal life, but it
makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe it
is life-threatening. you may feel like killing yourself or simply give up
trying to live. Manic depression is a condition which causes people to have
episodes of depression and of mania. Mania is highly excited and uncontrolled
happened to you when you were a child can have a big effect on how you feel
about yourself now. The attitude of parents is particularly important. Did they
tell you they loved you and show it by holding and cuddling you? Did they help
you to learn new skills by encouraging rather than criticising you? Wider
influences are also important: teachers, other children, TV programmes
Changes to your life which involve loss can cause depression: bereavement,
divorce, losing your job and so on. You are more likely to become and stay
depressed if you stop yourself expressing feelings and cut yourself off from
people. There is no good about reaching for a drink or a cigarette to dampen
down your feelings. Depression can also have physical causes. Physical and
mental health are closely linked. Poor diet, lack of physical fitness, changes
in the balance of hormones, lack of daylight and drug abuse can also contribute
has two important characteristics. It can feed on itself: you get depressed and
then you get more depressed about being depressed. It can occupy enormous
amounts of your time and attention. Being in a state of depression can then
itself become a bigger problem than the difficulties which caused it in the
first place. Dwelling on difficulties does not help you to solve them.
sFind things to do that are so
interesting to you that you forget that you are
sStop being over-concerned with
what goes on in your head. Be physical!
sDo anything which will make you
sLook after yourself physically. Do
not abuse your body with drugs, eat well and
get exercise. Pay attention to your
sTry to take a break from you usual
sAsk for help. Other people can
listen and help you think things through.
Act rather than be passive. Do not sit on
your feelings: If you need to cry, cry.
èYou may not realise it, but mental
illness is as common as heart disease, and
three times as common as cancer.
èTeenagers can be particularly
vulnerable, what with the pressure of exams,
bullying, first-time sex, self-esteem
crisis and family hassles. But there is
nothing to be ashamed of.
èI watched it bleed, and all the
tension flooded out of my body. I transferred
mental pain to body. The physical sensation
distracted me from my emotions
and I felt loads better afterwards.
èWhenever anything got on top of
me. I have always had trouble getting rid of
anger, so cutting myself seemed to be the
only way to make the bad feelings
go away. I became lost in a deep
depression. The whole base had been torn
away. I had gone from being happy and
outgoing to introverted and depressed.
I just couldn't pull myself together.
èI have got nothing to look forward
to. What's the point of living any more? I
couldn't see the point in going on.
èAt that point I just had a wall
around me that people couldn't get through. I
didn't want to burden my family with any of
èAsking for help, from a friend or
trained counsellor, is not a sign of weakness
but of strength.
èDon't bottle up your feelings.
Talk to someone you trust. If you can't shake
your sadness, seek help.
èIdentify the cause of you
èProblems with drugs, drinks,
eating or sex are often attempts to escape deeper
èSuicide will destroy your family
and friends - not to mention you one,
precious shot at life.