Depression is more than short-term sadness or unhappiness. Clinical depression, known as, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder, Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), to name a few, can impair an individual’s ability to function in daily life. Someone experiencing depression will typically experience symptoms on most days, persisting over a period of time.
Emotional symptoms can include:
- Feeling sad, empty and/or down
- A sense of hopelessness or despair
- Experiencing feelings of worthlessness and uselessness
- Excessive guilt
- Lack or loss of interest
- Feeling restless
Behavioural symptoms can include:
- Decreased productivity
- Withdrawal from enjoyable activities, events and people
Cognitive symptoms can include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Easily distracted
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide, death or self-harm
- Distorted thoughts that are not reflective of reality
- Holding extreme negative views of oneself
Some of these experiences are a normal part of being human, in appropriate amounts. Out of the normal range they can cause substantial personal suffering, significant difficulties in the areas of social and occupational effectiveness, as well as other areas of functioning (ie. self-care, health). Depression can increase the risk of suicide. If there is an emergency situation call 9-1- 1, the 24 hour Crisis Line is also available.
Please do not use the above for diagnostic purposes, as it is very general. Self-diagnosis can be harmful. Contact a health care provider to consult if you believe there is a concern.
Post Partum Depression
Parents may have many different feelings before and after their baby arrives ranging from joy and excitement to guilt and sadness. Sometimes these feelings become so difficult that a parent can feel overwhelmed and helpless. These emotions can start at any time during the pregnancy or within the first year of the birth or adoption of a baby.
Most new parents may experience the “baby blues” after the baby is born. The “baby blues” are characterized by a lack of sleep, increase in crying, irritability, or mood changes. The “baby blues” tend to go away within the first few weeks of having a new baby. Postpartum depression is a deeper, more long lasting depression and can include symptoms such as feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, isolation, changes in weight and appetite, sleep disturbances, and thoughts of suicide.
Counselling can help new parents manage their postpartum emotional health by focusing on self care strategies and coping with these new life transitions.
Depression Counselling can help new parents manage their postpartum emotional health by focusing on self care strategies and coping with these new life transitions.