Being a single parent is not depressing, however living on a low income and coping with difficult things that are happening to you on your own can make you feel depressed; even more so if you do not have family or friends living near.
Studies show that single parents are more likely to suffer from depression than other groups of people because they are more likely to be isolated and live in poverty.
Depression can be used to describe everyday low moods, which can affect us all from time to time. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to things that are upsetting, stressful or difficult and these feelings will usually pass. Accepting these moods as a normal part of life will help you cope with them.
Clinical depression means that you will feel sad, helpless and hopeless a lot of the time and you will also have physical symptoms. The symptoms include a low mood for at least two weeks and at least four of the following symptoms.
- Not sleeping or sleeping too much
- Slowing down
- Feeling irritable
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty in making decisions or concentrating
- Depression can run in your family or you can become depressed because of a lot of difficult and stressful things that happen to you. People who have suffered from abuse, trauma or loss are more likely to become depressed. Depression is a common illness, affecting 9.2 percent of adults. It is not anything to be ashamed of and does not mean that you are weak. You may also want to see our Overcoming Grief and Trauma and Coping with Stress and Anxiety articles.
What to do if you are feeling depressed
See your GP: If you have the symptoms of clinical depression you should go and talk to your doctor. Your GP could offer a ‘talking cure’ such as counselling, this means a qualified person will listen to you and help you to deal with and manage your feelings of depression. Some GPs will offer you medication, some people find this helps and other people don’t, it is important for you to decide what is best for you.
If you ever feel like taking your own life, harming yourself or other people then it is important to contact your GP immediately so that they can get help and support for you.
Other things you can do
Exercise can be a great way to beat depression, exercising produces chemicals in your brain which will lift your mood. Some people find that exercise helps them feel more positive about the way they look and this also helps them to feel good about themselves.
- www.mind.org.uk - The mental Health Charity
- The Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide. 08457 90 90 90
- SANE is a UK mental health charity which has a national out-of-hours telephone helpline offering emotional support and information for people affected by mental health problems. Open every day of the year 6pm – 11pm on 0845 767 8000
- To find an accredited Counseller near you take a look at the Counselling Directory