With celebrities becoming more candid with their mental health issues, the stigma surrounding the societal concern is rapidly dissolving. It’s important that people feel able to open up about their troubles – whether to family, friends or support services – and to reach out for help when needed.
Opening up to Hip Hop Hollywood, Jamie – whose birth name was Eric Marlon Bishop – revealed in an interview: “I was in a bad place.”
Talking about his bouts of depression, he said: “I felt like I might be literally losing my mind. I needed someone to help bring me out of it.”
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What is depression?
Mental health charity MIND describes depression as a “low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life”.
To clarify, MIND explain that a low mood that doesn’t lift after a couple weeks – or if it comes back repeatedly for a few days at a time – can signify depression.
Doctors diagnose depression as either mild, moderate or severe, which outlines the severity of its impact on everyday life.
The diagnosis also determines what sort of treatment you’re likely to be offered.
It’s not unheard of for depression to move between the stages of severity during one episode or across different episodes.
Symptoms of depression can be separated into three categories: feelings, behaviours and psychotic symptoms.
If you’re depressed, you’re likely to feel the following:
- Down, upset or tearful
- Restless, agitated or irritable
- Guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- Empty and numb
- Isolated and unable to relate to other people
- Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- A sense of unreality
- No self-confidence or self-esteem
- Hopeless and despairing
As well as emotional symptoms, behaviours can include:
- Avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
- Self-harming or suicidal behaviour
- Difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
- Losing interest in sex
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
- Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired all the time
- No appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight
- Physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated
For severe episodes of depression, you might also experience psychotic symptoms. These can include:
- Delusions, such as paranoia
- Hallucinations, such as hearing voices
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MIND points out that if you experience psychotic symptoms as part of depression, they’re likely to be linked to depressed thoughts and feelings.
There are also specific types of depression, which can be categorised as follows:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – depression that occurs at a particular time of year, or during a particular season. Dysthymia – continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more. Also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression.
Prenatal depression – depression that occurs during pregnancy. This is sometimes also called antenatal depression.
Postnatal depression (PND) – depression that occurs in the weeks and months after becoming a parent. Postnatal depression is usually diagnosed in women, but it can also affect men.
There are steps people can take to ease their symptoms, but MIND adds: “Different things work for different people at different times.”
Some self-care measures recommended by MIND – whose President is the legendary Stephen Fry – is talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling.
If you aren’t able to open up to someone close to you, the Samaritans run a 24-hour helpline (116 123) that you can call to talk to someone confidentially.
Look after your body, and it’ll look after you. This means moving it about, whether that be with walking, jogging, swimming or yoga – it can be a big boost to your mood.
The father-of-two (to 25-year-old Corinne and 10-year-old Anelise) will be starring on the Graham Norton show, BBC One at 10:35pm on Friday 17th January.
Other guests on the show are Michael B Jordan, Jennifer Saunders and Patrick Stewart.
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