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A Mini Guide to Depression

signs of depression imageArticle by Caroline Carr.

This week is Depression Awareness Week, so here are a few important points:

  • Depression can come on suddenly, as the result of a trauma or stressful event, or it can build up for years, and a person may experience it once, or have bouts over a period of time. Some people feel sad and gloomy for months or years. In some cases, it never really goes away.


  • It is likely to be the result of a combination of some of the following: life circumstances – what has occurred, and what is occurring in the person’s life, the type of personality a person has, and how they deal with things generally, whether or not depression runs in the family, genes and DNA


  • Different types of depression are more debilitating than others – and more serious. Categories and types include:

 What are the different types of Depression?

Bipolar Disorder (manic depression) is generally characterized by severe mood swings – ‘up’ periods of mania with huge surges of energy and activity, and sometimes irritability and anger, then severe crashing ‘lows’ – the depression.

Some people only experience these occasionally, and others may have up to five or six episodes a year. For more details see: www.mdf.org.uk

Post-natal depression. This can be very serious, and the mother and others around her may not recognise it for what it is. Often it doesn’t show up until months after the baby is born.  A woman suffering with post natal depression needs a great deal of support.  For more details see: www.pni-uk.com , and  www.apni.org

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects some people over the winter months due to reduced exposure to light. This is thought to affect the chemistry in the brain. It is fairly common in the UK, and the symptoms are similar to those of depression.  For more details, see: www.sada.org.uk

Clinical Depression  is when a person’s mood is generally low, and this affects all aspects of their life for longer than a few weeks. Often depression is not triggered by anything in particular.  It seems to come from a shift or change ‘within’ the person, and there may be no obvious reason for it.

  • Everyone’s experience differs, and this may change as they sink into a deeper state of depression. It is thought that men and women experience and deal with depression differently too. Some people feel and exhibit anger, some do not. Many people do not have the energy to be angry. They may be in a state of lethargy and hopelessness.


  • Treatment usually includes medication, often combined with talking therapy such as psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). However, many complimentary therapies work really well in the treatment of depression.


  • A really important point to understand is that a person who is depressed can’t just snap out of it. They feel as if their life is spiralling out of control, and any unhelpful behaviour is likely to be a result of that.


  • Partners and families are affected by the depressed person’s behaviour too, and the person who is depressed probably feels really terrible about this – which just adds to how bad they feel anyway.


Here are a few links to organisations who are doing fantastic work to raise awareness and to provide information and support about depression and other aspects of mental health:







There is also: www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx

And my own organisation to support partners: www.mypartnerisdepressed.com

Photo credit: Master Isolated images





Founder of LET THE SUNSHINE IN - a unique recourse for those who want to connect with their bright side, especially when their partner is depressed, Caroline has been billed as The UK’s Leading Expert for Partners Living with Depression. She is a life and laughter coach, a hypnotherapist and the author of several self-help books, including ‘Living with depression’ and ‘How not to worry.’ Caroline has been interviewed on television and radio, is frequently quoted in the national press, and has written for a range of magazines and specialist health publications.

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  1. Margaret

    April 25, 2012

    Epictetus said it is not what happens to us but how we respond to it that determines our happiness, so hope you don’t mind me sharing Venus Cow which has helped me more than I can ever say and would recommend highly to anyone feeling hopeless.

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