Depression is a psychological condition marked by deep sadness and the belief that every defence, resource and prospect of action is useless. People suffering from depression live in a state of profound resignation, feeling lonely and inept, with no way out in sight.
What are the traits of depression?
Unlike the standard emotional experience of sadness, depression lasts in time and can greatly interfere with our way of life.
The main symptoms of depression are:
- Depressed mood almost every day and for the majority of the day
- Substantial decrease of interest or joy for all or most activities
- Substantial loss of weight or significant weight gain without being on a diet, decrease or increase of appetite.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Psychomotor unrest or decline
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Feelings of self deprecation or guilt
- Decrease in the ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
This condition can negatively impact all aspects of everyday life, including family relationships, friendships, the ability to work and study.
One specific form of depression is postpartum depression. After giving birth, a number of mothers start feeling inept, sad, irritable and tearful.
These symptoms are frequent in a physiological state of mind, called “baby blues”. True postpartum depression is a much more serious disorder that affects about 10-20% of mothers and its symptoms can last for over a year.
Among them, some of the most prominent are a lack of interest towards the newborn and the fear of hurting the baby or themselves.
How do we face depression?
Treating depression can be done with only the patient present, with the participation of their partner or with the entire family. In some cases, a pharmacological therapy, prescribed by a psychiatrist, may be necessary.
The psychotherapist seeks to investigate discomfort, starting from the psychological and existential world of the client. Distress is actually an alarm signal that the mind sends out in order to express something important: listening to and accepting it is crucial, as well as working on the meaning and consequences of suffering.
If we consider depression as an alarm, we can see it as an important resource that allows us to come out of our sorrow stronger and much more self aware.