Every 2 seconds someone searches ‘depression‘ in the UK alone.
If you are thinking you might be depressed, you have probably turned to the internet for answers like I did.
The stigma surrounding mental health increases the chances of us looking for answers on the internet rather than turning to the people around us – what if someone doesn’t understand or thinks I’m a weirdo?!
It can be tempting to frantically look for answers to why you feel your life is suddenly falling apart around you. You could scan the internet for HOURS looking for that 1 sentence which you think will make everything magically fall into place again.
However, at the end you might find you are no better off, maybe even WORSE OFF. You could start to despair that you have found another 10 things wrong with your life, and have even more problems than you started with!
I am so guilty of this!
I felt that if I find out the reasons WHY i felt so depressed then I will magically feel better and all the invisible dots would connect. it doesn’t work QUITE like that……. but I find it can also be reassuring to know the cause of how you are feeling. It definitely helps me understand more about my depression, and the best ways to overcome it.
In addition, hopefully it will save you any time ruminating and analysing your depression and anxiety, which will allow you to spend more time focussing on CBT or self care exercises.
10 things I’ve googled with depression
1. Is this all life is?
…….remember that’s the depression talking. Depression makes us feel like all we do is wake up, go to work, be anxious, go to sleep – what’s the point in even being alive?!
I found the best way to minimise this thought by making sure you do something that you love and enjoy at least once a day.
I can’t stress how important that is!
If you’re not planning time to do something you love every day, of course you won’t find life to be very enjoyable. It might take a bit of time to sit and brainstorm all the activities you enjoy, if you can afford them, and when to fit them in to your schedule but it will definitely be worth it.
It can be something big like starting a pottery course or learning a language, or something even as small as making your favourite smoothie and reading for 15 minutes each morning.
2. Should I take anti-depressants?
Taking medication is completely up to you. I personally haven’t tried them as I thought I wanted to explore other ways of feeling better first. I was worried that for the first 2 weeks you apparently feel worse, and then I was worried that I might become reliant on them.
You might be scared of judgment. As my mum said…. some people may judge you, but if it makes your life a little happier and more bearable every day then what’s the shame in that?
If you do take them you should seek other treatments alongside them, such as CBT and self care.
3. What percentage of the population is depressed?
Ever felt like you are the only one feeling like this??
Well you’re not. Walking through crowds of people it can be easy to think that everyone’s lives are hunky dory and yours is the only one crumbling inside. However, think about how they could be crumbling inside too but you look like you have it together to them!
Obviously it doesn’t make you feel magically better knowing that others are suffering with depression to, but it can bring a little comfort to know you’re not alone and going crazy.
A few stats….
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer with a Mental Health problem each year.
An estimated 15% of the population will have depression at some point in their life.
Personally I think the figures are a lot higher than this, but people suffer in silence.
4. Why do I find it so hard to make decisions?
You are so worried about making the WRONG decision and that your world might crumble around you if you choose the cookie instead of a donut. Drama.
We all have to make hundred of little decisions every day, such as what to wear, what to eat, when to wake up. These seem basic for most people, but if you have depression these small decisions can seem like the biggest most challenging thing in the world.
Finding decision making overwhelming is a product of having low self esteem, anxiety and low confidence. Practicing CBT and other techniques can help you with your ability to make decisions and help you show that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer much of the time.
5. Is depression a chemical imbalance in my brain?
Scientists used to believe that having depression was the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain and not having a high enough level of seratonin.
That theory is now over 50 years old and looks increasingly implausible.
There is not just cause of depression, and causes of depression can include loneliness, low self-esteem and other stressful events.
6. Difference between bi-polar and depression?
When my depression was at its worst, I used to be confused about if I had another mental health illness alongside depression.
Bipolar is chatacterised by long periods of feeling depressed, then feeling high and elated. Depression is just feeling low.
7. Whats is the link between anxiety and depression?
They both commonly occur together. I call it danxiety (woo!)
I am pretty sure that my anxiety and constant worry is the main contributor that led to my depression. Feeling on edge and worried 24/7 will do that to you!
Having anxiety and depression together can be really confusing and overwhelming. It is like caring about everything too much yet not caring about anything at the same time.
8. Why am I so irritable?
You’re not a horrible person, it is a symptom of being depressed.
It can be hard to process and deal with your emotions when you have depression, and you often take these out on the people closest to you.
I used to be so irritable with my boyfriend as I was so angry at him for not understanding what I was going through…… poor guy I had never even tried to explain it to him. I found that after I verbalised how I was feeling this helped a lot with how irritable I was around him.
Also meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace have been really useful tools for getting a little calmness and peacefulness into your life.
9. Am I depressed?
When I first realised I was depressed I felt a sense of shame and embarassment. I used to think that either you are a ‘depressed person’ or you are not.
However I then realised like many things, depression is on a scale. You can have mild or severe depression.
I used to feel like a fraud saying I was depressed when I knew that some people were suicidal and in a much worse depression that I was.
You don’t need to label yourself if you don’t want to.
10. Why do I feel like I’ve lost my identity?
Feeling like you don’t know who you are anymore is another symptom of low self esteem depression.
With my anxiety and depression I ended up being a people pleaser (like many people with anxiety do) and forgetting my basic likes and dislikes. For example – someone would say something offensive and I would just smile and act like it was okay because I was too scared of being disliked. I’m sure many of you can relate to doing that as well. The repetition of this over years and years obviously ends up in you forgetting your personality as you haven’t been true to your views and morals.
In addition, having depression completely numbs your thoughts and feelings.
There are many ways you can start to feel like your old self back again and start to remember your personality.
Building up my confidence and self esteem was the biggest contributor to feeling like I got my identity back again. Start by making a list of your likes, values and morals.
Looking for answers and internet searching can be helpful, but make sure you do it in moderation and allocate enough time to doing the things which will bring positive changes in your life.
Continue to make small changes to your life every day and set aside time to build your self esteem.