It’s Blue Monday. The so-called “most depressing day of the year”. The term was coined by psychologist Cliff Arnall in 2004, however, he has since apologised for its use. Intended as a way to encourage people to look at everything more positively, it’s important to remember that depression doesn’t go away after Blue Monday has ended. And it can definitely be there before Blue Monday. One of the more positive things to come from the term is awareness. It gets people talking about their mental health, even if they’re just using it as a way to discredit the term used for the day.
What Is Depression?
Depression is often described as a low mood that lasts for weeks or months and negatively affects daily life. Now, most people will experience feeling down on certain days even if they aren’t depressed, but depression will make people feel persistently sad for much longer than a few days. The good news is that there is help out there. The bad news is that it can take some time to get better.
How Can It Affect Your Day To Day Life?
Everyone experiences it in their own way. There is no straight answer to this, but generally, it affects every area of your life. From your eating and sleeping habits, your concentration to your socialising. It can affect the way you work and you may not be performing as well in your working life because of depression.
Some of the tell-tale signs to look out for are:
- Continuous low mood
- Feeling tearful
- Low self-esteem
- feeling irritable
- Not getting enjoyment out of life
- Lack of motivation
What Can You Do If You Think You Have Depression?
Talk to someone you trust. That’s the first thing to do. If you share how you’re feeling with someone you know and trust it will make it easier to open up to a GP or a therapist. They may also offer support to you when you’re reaching out to a professional. Once you’ve done that, contact your GP and make an appointment. The NHS have a short self-assessment quiz you can take to see if you need to reach out for help with depression. There is also seasonal affective disorder to consider and possibly get help for.
What Resources Are There If You Need Help That Day?
If things have gone south really fast and you require urgent care, there are places you can contact for instant support. Even just a chat with someone can help us get through the rest of the day.
CALM – For Evenings
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Samaritans – For During The Day
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
No matter how you experience mental illness, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. Reach out to your pals, your family or even join an online forum. This pandemic is making it hard for us all. Please reach out if you need help.