It’s totally normal to feel sad or low sometimes, and often we’ll describe this feeling as being “depressed.” If these low feelings endure for an extended period of time, and if they are accompanied by some or all of the following symptoms, clinical depression may indeed be the root cause:
Some people try to numb themselves to their depression with alcohol, drugs, excessive internet use, compulsive shopping, gambling, or other such escapist behaviour. Trouble is, this will compound the problem; these behaviours interfere with your normal life and wind up spiralling you into a vicious cycle of destructive behaviour that leaves you feeling ashamed and even more depressed.
If your negative feelings last for more than a couple of weeks, chances are you are dealing with more than just feeling “off.” Now is a good time to seek help – in fact, the sooner you seek help the better, as studies are showing that the longer symptoms continue, the more significant the negative changes to your brain will be. It is very difficult to pull yourself away from depression on your own. There is no shame in seeking help, and you will not be judged as weak or useless. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 10% of people will experience depression in their lifetime, while only 5 to 6% seek help. The good news is that the help is available and it is very effective!