We live in an age where people are subjected to enormous professional and societal pressures. The world changes at an ever greater pace, and many people still feel obliged to ‘keep up with the Joneses’, while social media amplifies people’s insecurities and provides an unhealthy platform for comparison with others – their appearance, their achievements, and their connections – all of which are misleadingly portrayed to look better than they do in reality. An individual may wish to seek treatment for mild depression, but feel like it is better to “push through it”.
For many, it becomes increasingly difficult to conform to society’s demands, to live up to our own standards and ideals, and to achieve what we wish for and create the life we desire. The gap between our reality as we perceive it, and the life, situations, and solutions to problems we aspire to, can seem impossible to bridge, and feelings of despondency and discouragement can set in. Other challenges and events can slowly erode away our zest for life, leading to despair and a sense of powerlessness.
Depression can take forms with a variety of symptoms. Alongside feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, lethargy and apathy, it generally becomes a ‘default setting’, or at best a vague heaviness in the background of our emotions that never quite disappears.
The WHO considers the causes of depression to be largely social, and reduced social activity can be both a cause and effect of depression – loneliness and isolation can contribute to its onset, and once it is present, there is a tendency to want to retreat further into one’s shell. Warning signs that depression might not be far off are a loss of motivation or willingness to do things that used to bring joy and pleasure, becoming less sociable, and on a physical level, changes in appetite and sleeping patterns.
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