Managing Depression

The World Health Organization has predicted that: 

'Depression will be the second leading killer disease and cause
of disability by 2020 and the No 1 killer disease and cause of disability by 2030'

'Depression is a stronger risk factor for heart disease & mental illness than smoking, alcoholism & bad cholesterol'

What exactly is depression?
Managing Depression
To some depression generally means feeling down, low, sometimes upset and sad, 'the blue syndrome', but one may have these feelings without being classified as 'clinically' depressed. These emotions are generally brief and can only slightly and temporarily affect normal life. 

Clinical depression is a physical, emotional and spiritual state that is intense and can negatively affect the life of an individual, long term. Depression is also different from sadness we naturally experience after loss, such as during bereavement. 

Depression is very unhealthy; it often robs us of finding meaning in our lives and ultimately inhibits our personal growth, achievements, performance It can Ultimately lead to death. 
So it is very important to understand what depression is and what it isn't. Depression is not a character flaw, neither is it a sign of indiscipline or personal weakness. It is not just a 'mood' that an individual can choose to get into and thus snap out of at will.

It is however critical to understand that depression is not permanent, you can completely recover from it.


I'm sure most of us have heard the story of Motunrayo Ogbara. May her soul Rest in Peace. She suffered from acute depression and the break up with her boyfriend, amongst other things, added to her depression. 

Contrary to what most know about depression: Motunrayo had a lot going for her and was always a bubbly, extroverted lady, full of life. She went to the UK a year before her death for her masters degree and started feeling very low and depressed, but no one thought it to be anything serious. Aren't we ALL guilty of this? We often think "deal with it men"!!!!! Based on her state of mind, she deferred her studies & moved back home.

On her return she showed the following symptoms of acute depression:

1) She cut off from her friends, deleted almost all her blackberry contacts and would not return anyone's calls
2) She hardly left her house and room for days.
3) She felt detached and abandoned.
4) She craved attention but no one really had her time. Because most of her best friends are scattered round the globe and the few here had issues of their own.
5) She lived with her sister and, unlike her, she soon started having a bad attitude, which caused a conflict and rift between them (she was silently crying out for help but due to certain barriers and filters no one heard her cry). 
6) She didn't want people to even know that she was back in the country and uncharacteristically kept to herself. Nobody thought anything of it. 

On Saturday 16th July when her cup became FULL, she lied that she was going to a friend's house, but instead locked herself in her room & hung herself. Her body was only discovered on Monday the 18th of July.

I'm sure many are saying haba!!!! Why should she take it that far????

Apart from breaking up with her boyfriend, she had some family problems, she also just had an operation to remove a cyst and was just generally disturbed by a lot of things. According to what I heard, she was also to start a new job with MTN on Monday the 18th July and her father had just recently bought her a brand new car.

Understand that depression is a silent killer and is very real in our society, even closer to you than you know.

Here are the Most common symptoms of depression.

1) Persistent sad or empty feeling.
2) Difficulty sleeping (sleeping too much or too little).
3) Insomnia (early morning awakening).
4) Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
5) Feelings of guilt.
6) Loss of interest or the ability to enjoy oneself.
7) Loss of energy or fatigue.
8) Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions.
9) Changes in appetite (overeating or loss of appetite).
10) Observable mental and physical sluggishness.
11) Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
12) Thoughts of death or suicide.

As an Emotions Therapist, Health Coach and Psychologist, I am trained to help people deal with this Silent Killer.

From the work I have done in the last couple of years the truth is that a lot of people are walking around depressed. It's not just about having a bad day, or a bad week; depression is a psychological condition that needs to be quickly and professionally dealt with.

That's one of the various reasons we are doing several programs from Emotional Intelligence to Conflict Resolution to Self Mastery and Personal Power etc.
Participants often experience; a Re-awakening; An activation of ALL the power and positive energy that lies dormant within them; They will be reconnected with their True Essence (Spirit and Soul).


There are various types of treatment for depression, depending on the type of depression.

Psychotherapy treatments: 

This provides a supportive environment to share and work through difficulties. Psychologists and psycho analysts can strategically and skillfully help change thinking patterns and behaviours that cause depression. 

These techniques have been found to be much more effective than general counseling, and ultimately help reduce and control depression.


A change in the balance of chemicals in the brain can impact on our mood, a lack of some specific chemicals in our brain may sometimes be responsible for feeling down, upset, fatigued, low, and sad. Antidepressant medications as prescribed by your physician can help restore the brain's chemical balance to correct the imbalance that may be responsible for the biological symptoms of depression.

Combination treatments:

Some types of depression, particularly for the more severe ones, a combination of both psychological and medical treatment may be required.


Focus on developing your level of spirituality and serving God is also a way of managing depression. Seeing God as your source, the author and finisher of your faith is critical. Depending on Him for life's sustenance and absolutely trusting Him is important. Praying and reading the word of truth regularly creates blindness to the feelings that you hitherto would have been focusing on. For focus ultimately creates blindness.

Listening to motivational and inspiring music is also very important.


The key problem areas and their respective solutions

1) Loss of interest.

Individuals that go through states of depression are usually unable to complete daily chores and also do not enjoy pleasurable activities. Positive experiences associated with a sense of achievement sometimes elude them, and this eventually affects the people around them.

Evidence has shown that increased levels of activity, and participating in pleasurable experiences can help reduce depressive symptoms. 

Steps to increasing pleasurable activities and your sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

a) Make a list of activities to be completed.

b) Make a list of enjoyable activities (make sure you write down a lot of activities, also include marginally enjoyable activities).

c) Itemize your activity schedule for each day, this gives a sense of achievement when they are completed.

d) Include the number of enjoyable activities and increase the amount of time allocated to these.

e) Meditate on your accomplishments once the tasks have been completed. Especially meditating on the enjoyable aspects of your pleasurable activities.

f) Constantly discuss with like minded people about activities they enjoy, identifying and reflecting on their positive experiences.

g) Always stay focused on the positive aspect of your experiences, there's always a positive twist to every experience, no matter how small. As you do this your experiences become more enjoyable.

2) Change your sleeping pattern. 

Some symptoms of depression are over sleeping and or insomnia. Disruptive sleeping patterns can make you feel even worse. Very regular sleeping patterns are healthy and critical to recovering from depression. 

So how can i establish healthy sleep patterns?

a) Make sure you wake at the same time every morning.

b) Avoid sleeping or taking naps during the day.

c) Reduce your tea and coffee intake considerably and do not drink tea or coffee after 4pm.

d) When you are awake at night do not lie in bed trying to sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time

e) Get up, leave the room and engage in a relaxing activity, i.e reading, listening to music or exercise.

f) Return to bed immediately you feel sleepy.

3) Worrying and negative thinking.

Worrying about future events and having negative thoughts. These thinking patterns are unhealthy and can reduce a person's ability to focus on recovery, and this may increase their vulnerability to other unhealthy emotions and behaviours.

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