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Write your way to a healthy mind...

Depression can be extremely debilitating, especially when we feel at rock-bottom and, when we reach that point, daily life can be pretty bleak. Gone is the ability to get out of bed, attend to our personal hygiene, eat breakfast, take the children to school, go to work, or whatever it is that gives us a sense of purpose. Our existence tends to be a reactive one; we shut down and withdraw from activity that keeps us feeling good about life.

It's true to say that depression often has a remitting and relapsing course. It may have no obvious cause, or it can be related to physical problems or various life events. Most people with depression will get better without treatment, although getting better may take several months or even longer. Living with symptoms in the meantime can have a heavy impact on the whole of our lives: relationships can suffer, our working life may be put at risk, together with our ability to pay the rent or the mortgage. I paint a bleak picture, I know, but such is the trauma that depression creates.

If we find ourselves in this situation, it can be very difficult to admit that we have a problem; our ego may well send us into denial, after all, who wants to be seen as weak? Of course, the first step to getting better is to acknowledge that we are ill and that we do need support to get well again. This acknowledgement is actually a sign of strength; it takes great strength to be honest about our vulnerability.

It is also helpful to talk to the GP; medication may well be suggested, especially if the depression is moderate to severe. This can be supplemented with counselli