We are now very familiar with the terms depression and anxiety; they are used extensively throughout everyday life. However, fewer people actually understand what these terms really mean, nor the experiences of being depressed or anxious. For many struggling with depression it can be difficult to hear people describing themselves as ‘depressed’ when, simply, they are having a bad day.
It is therefore important that we understand the terms used to describe these important mental health problems. The information given here is not intended to be used to formally diagnose yourself. However, from the information you should be able to develop a good indication of whether you might be experiencing depression and/or anxiety (they often go hand in hand) and, if so, seek some help.
If, having read the information available here, you believe you might be experiencing depression and/or anxiety, it is important to book an appointment with your General Practitioner (GP), who will be able to assess your problems, offer a proper diagnosis and discuss with you the range of support options available.
It is important to remember that there are a number of ways in which you can be helped with depression and/or anxiety. Many assume that anti-depressants are the only solution that will be offered. While anti-depressants might be a life-saving treatment for some, many others might want to consider the range of other options, including:
- the different types of counselling available (often provided freely through your university or institution)
- wellbeing support (often provided freely through your university or institution)
- online therapy
- self-help programmes
- downloadable apps for your phone or tablet
- exercise and diet information
These may be considered with or without anti-depressants, depending on your needs and the advice given to you by your GP or person supporting you.
The following information gives an insight into what depression and anxiety really are, with some attention given to particular ways in which they can impact on yourself and others. Further information is also available on other relevant issues, such as sleep, concentration, and suicidal thinking.