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Colourbox.de It takes many sufferers a long time to seek help for depression. (symbol image)

Am I just in a bad mood or seriously depressed?? Those affected are often unable to give a precise answer to this question themselves. A depression sufferer tells how he learned to interpret the illness correctly and live with it.

Often those affected do not notice the beginnings of their depression or think it is sadness, a depressive mood or a weakness of character – so do I. It may be true that one of them takes effect, but nevertheless one should always seek the advice of a professional, should sadness, listlessness and dejection persist constantly for more than two weeks, without phases of visible improvement.

Often a visit to the family doctor is enough. He also made the initial diagnosis for me. But since I had already come to terms with my depression as a part of my being for decades, I could not or did not want to accept that behind my supposed weakness of character was in fact a serious, even life-threatening illness.

Seek help instead of false shame

In some cases, the symptoms of depression are further overlaid by other, more physical complaints such as back pain, greater susceptibility to disease. In any case, one thing the sufferer should not do is feel ashamed to seek help for a potential mental illness. As my therapist so aptly put it. "Those who seek help in the face of potential depression show a great deal of strength that is still present."

Our guide shows you the most important symptoms, promising therapies and common psychotropic drugs for depression.

Personally, I did not accept depression as an illness until four weeks after I was admitted to an open psychiatric ward. And even more difficult for me was the step of no longer asking for culprits or reasons, but to turn my gaze forward, towards therapy.

When the entire world has collapsed, when a suicide attempt has landed one in a psychiatric ward, suddenly there is only thicket, no way, no orientation, the world has collapsed and one begins to painstakingly put the individual building blocks of one's own existence back together again. But for me it was just this "clearing up".. the first step to accepting my depression as such and the resulting anxiety disorder.

One feels like a worthless piece of dirt

No, it definitely doesn't feel good to be confronted with the realization that you are mentally ill, that you may have been carrying this ailment your entire life so far, and that it was only through a concatenation of unfortunate circumstances and insensitive people that what should have been a controllable depression became an inner berserker.

If fear was a silent and not too loud companion at the beginning of my professional career, it roared at me shortly before my collapse with every mistake, every sometimes only apparent failure, and fed my maelstrom of reproaches again and again.

One may have talents, gifts, learned skills. You can be an artist, a developer. At some point, you feel like a worthless piece of trash. And this happens faster and faster over the years.

The earlier the diagnosis, the better the therapy

That is why I try to educate already at schools. Because the sooner you recognize depression for yourself or are diagnosed with it, the better chance you have of never letting it grow into the superhuman monster it represented for me in the last few years before my near demise. Yes, there was the good advice not to take it all so hard, to see your own gifts, but they are increasingly erased and devalued by the disease.

It was only on that one day in the clinic, on a walk in the psychiatric ward, that I was able to admit to myself that I had an illness and needed help. And only with this realization was a meaningful therapy possible. My demons of anxiety and depression then continued to fight with me. But from this point on, I knew my opponents, which I had previously always considered to be completely normal parts of my being.

About the guest author

Uwe Hauck is an author and blogger. He lives with his wife. Three children in Schwabisch Hall. After a suicide attempt, Hauck went to a total of three clinics in 2015 to have his severe, recurring depression treated. He tweeted about this time under the hashtag #ausderklapse and reported on his blog. Now his book "Depression" is also available appeared.

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