What is the difference between Depression and the Blues?


Over one million people in Australia live with depression. Over two million have anxiety disorder. How do you know if you have the blues or are suffering from depression?

The Blues

Everyone will experience the blues at some point in their lives. The feeling of sadness, grief, loneliness or lack of motivation when going through a difficult life experience is part of being human. They can often be helpful in a sense, life’s way of letting you know that something is amiss, which is your cue to either making changes in your life or stopping and facing issues that you might have been avoiding. Most of the time, you can continue to function normally and you know that you will bounce back, and you do. With depression that is not the case.

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious condition. While we have all felt sad and low in mood, from time to time you may experience these feelings very deeply and very profoundly, often without a reason. Have you ever found it difficult to function on a day-to-day basis? Have normal activities become increasingly more difficult to cope with?

Have you ever had trouble getting out of bed? This is more than just laziness; it’s a profound desire to have no interaction at all with the outside world. Activities that once you enjoyed are harder to take part in. Depression becomes a serious problem when the feelings persist.

How do you know if a person has depression?

If a person has been feeling sad, down or unhappy most of the time for more than two weeks or has lost interest in most of their activities.

Depression symptoms can include:

  • Not wanting to go out anymore
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate
  • Feeling overwhelmed, irritable, unhappy, sad, tired all the time
  • Having negative thoughts i.e., ‘I’m a failure.’ ‘I’m worthless.’ ‘Life’s not worth living.’
  • Feeling sick and run down, not sleeping
  • Getting headaches and muscle pains, significant weight loss or gain

Some factors that may contribute to depression are:

  • A family history of depression
  • Hormonal changes
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Medication
  • Medical conditions
  • Abuse
  • Personality type
  • Loss of a job

Left untreated, depression can last for weeks, months or years. Early attention is important. It is a serious disorder, however, when treated properly you can hope to expect a full recovery. In some cases, antidepressant medication will be required in combination with personal development and the techniques that have been mentioned for anxiety and stress.

Depression is not something to take lightly, and can sometimes require immediate professional attention. Your mental health is too important to take lightly. As mentioned previously, it is important that you acknowledge all parts of yourself in order to heal. Use your self-care management techniques and if your feelings are still troubling you, then seek further help from your Doctor or another health professional about getting appropriate treatment.

You can find a Depression Checklist on Beyond Blue’s website. http://www.beyondblue.org.au

Understanding the difference between feeling “blue” and being depressed can make a difference in the quality of life for an affected individual.  With proper treatment, depression can be managed, and individuals can live more enjoyable and productive lives.

Self-care management techniques

On the road to recovery

Making sure that you have me time is vitally important for your own mental, emotional spiritual and physical wellness. Your family and loved ones will benefit from you being well and happy. We can often be so caught up in making sure everyone else is looked after that we forget about the most important person. You. How can you care for someone else when your own happiness is not being taken care of? Here are a few quick suggestions for enhancing your mental and emotional wellness by doing every day ordinary things.

Some key ideas to help with Self Care:

  • Take time for yourself each day
  • Keep a journal – it can help
  • Have a good cry it is part of the healing process
  • Take life one day at a time
  • Get regular exercise with gardening, walking, yoga or Tai Chi
  • Relaxation Meditation can be found on my webpage judithtehuia.com
  • Keep up with your hobbies, passions, and anything you love doing
  • Lessen the amount of caffeine taken daily
  • Eat a healthy diet: three main meals a day, don’t just graze
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Do something just for you
  • Ask a friend to look after your children
  • Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help you are human not superhuman
  • Talk to someone about how you are feeling, don’t bottle it up
  • Meeting up with friends is vital
  • Keep up your interests to whatever extent you can

There is no shame in having the blues or having depression. It is knowing that you can move on to living a happy and healthy life if you chose to.

If you have found this post helpful, please share on Facebook or tweet it and check out my other blogs on judithtehuia.com and my videos on Judith Te Huia -You Tube

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