What is Blue Monday?

BILLED as the “most depressing day of the year” Blue Monday has struck bringing with it a dark cloud of doom.

The party season is over and the endless late nights and booze-fuelled bashes have taken their toll and, apparently, today is the day that it all comes to a head.

Blue Monday is calculated using a series of factors in a (not particularly scientific) mathematical formula. The factors are: the weather, debt level (specifically, the difference between debt and our ability to pay), the amount of time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take charge of the situation.

Originally conceived by a PR company, the day has gained traction and is now recognised as an annual event.

What is depression?

Depression is not just a feeling of unhappiness or being a bit fed up for a few days – which is common and totally normal. Those who are suffering from depression can suffer from an immense feeling of sadness that can last for weeks and maybe even months.

Everyone is different and the condition can manifest itself in different ways but is often described as a total disconnect from all feelings of happiness.

The NHS warns against trivialising depression as not a genuine health problem on it’s website: “Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms.” 

How do you know if someone is depressed?

The symptoms for depression can be varied in different people. A lot of people suffer from a lasting feeling of hopelessness and can sometimes lose interest in things that previously made them happy. Sufferers can also become teary and struggle with the symptoms of anxiety.

Physical symptoms can include tiredness, poor sleeping patterns, lack of appetite or sex drive, as well as aches and pains. At its most severe patients can become suicidal.

How do you treat depression?

If you are concerned that you are suffering from depression, you should speak to a doctor immediately. People tend to wait a long time to report their symptoms but they sooner the issue is reported the sooner people can begin to recover.

Doctors may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes including, cutting down on alcohol consumption, eating more healthily or exercising more frequently. Talking therapies are also available like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and sometimes doctors prescribe antidepressants.

In severe cases a combination of the two is recommended. It is extremely important that you consult you GP in order to make a plan of action together.

Words by Lauren Windle

 

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