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Lifestyle Health & Fitness

Mental Health: What To Do When Life Sucks And What You Need To Know About Depression

Because sometimes, it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Life in Dubai can be glowing, happiness, glamourous, big fun. 

But it can also be difficult - if you're living away from your family, you might feel alone; it can sometimes be exhausting and things can get too much. 

Feeling lows is normal - life, and emotions, come in waves, but if it's ongoing, or you feel not right - you should seek professional help. 

Clinical psychologist at LightHouse Arabia, Dr Nick Wakefield explains some key indicators that you might be more than just feeling sad. 

The difference between depression and feeling sad

Dr Wakefield explains that there are differences in the two, one being an emotion - and one a clinical condition. 

He says: Sadness is a normal emotional state usually in direct response to an event or stressful period and it passes with time.  Sadness is usually understandable and does not persistently affect most or all areas of life.  Depression affects someone persistently for a prolonged period of time.  A diagnosis of depression requires a person to have experienced some of the symptoms described above for a period of two weeks.  When depressed it can be difficult to identify the cause.  However, depression can also be considered a normal reaction to a set of life circumstances where a person is persistently faced with adversity - for example: emotionally, relationally, economically."

Specific symptoms pertaining to depression  

Depression can affect emotions, thinking, behaviour, physical wellbeing, the ability to study, work and to have satisfying relationships. 

Dr Wakefield explains that people will usually notice they are finding it difficult to to the things they normally do in most domains of life; work, social or family. He lists further indicators you may be experiencing depression. 

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities 
  • Lack of energy and tiredness 
  • Feeling worthless or guilty when not really at fault 
  • Thinking about death a lot or wishing they were dead 
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Moving slowly or, sometimes, becoming agitated and unable to settle
  • Having sleeping difficulties or, sometimes, sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in food, or, sometimes, eating too much.

If you are experiencing some of these, Dr Wakefield recommends talking to someone as an initial step

"The most important first step is talk to someone about it, a friend, a colleague, a professional.  Often the first port of call is to speak to a rusted medical professional like a GP who can refer you to a mental health professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist.  Get help as soon as possible to prevent the problem getting worse.  Many people avoid getting help at first because they think that they will be judged, should ‘just get on with it’, or that it’s a sign of weakness.  Everybody needs help sometimes."

He says that depression affects around 5% of the population in the UAE, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) - and 50% of people who experience depression will have had their first episode by 25 years of age. 

Dr Nick Wakefield is a clinical psychologist at LightHouse Center for Wellbeing. 

See lighthousearabia.com

Written By

Caitlyn Davey

Caitlyn is an Aussie journalist looking to change the world. In her spare time she loves playing sport, travelling and basically doing anything that means she doesn't have to sit still.