This story originally appeared in Deadly Vibe Magazine Issue #10/11 October, 1997

We have just opened The Vault – all the back stories from old editions – dating back to the 1990s. To know where we are going, it's important to understand where we have been. And that story you can follow in the Deadly Vibe Vault!

Most of us feel depressed at times. Depression is a down and sad feeling that you get inside. It usually has got something to do with feeling bad about yourself. Depressed people often feel worthless.

Depression may also be about anger inside you. Depressed people often fight to hold anger back. Many times people forget why they are angry and only remember that they feel angry.

To get over depression start by directing built up energy away from yourself. Exercise, run, dance or paint. Make a list for yourself for the day so that you can get everything done you want to get done and feel good about yourself at the end of the day.

Also try and find why you are angry, if possible and allow trapped feelings to escape. Don’t expect miracles in coming to grips with depression. Try to take one day at a time and remember that getting better will take time.

When being depressed gets really bad.

Although we may all experience some depression at some time some people develop much more serious major depression. This involves a range of serious symptoms.

There is a profound unhappiness where the individual loses interest in all aspects of life, even his or her favourite things.

If you’re always unhappy you could lose your appetite, change your weight, have upset sleep patterns, have no energy and have difficulty in concentrating. Most of the pleasurable aspects of a person’s life seem to disappear.

You also may get agitated; feel worthless, guilty and even have thoughts of death or suicide. When you are badly depressed most of the fun aspects of life seem to go away.

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, one way to help is to listen. If someone has a problem it often helps him or her to talk about it with another person. The most helpful approach is to acknowledge the person’s feelings with kind responses like “I can tell you are very worried,” or “I’ve been down and unhappy too.

That can be a terrible feeling.” Usually it is better to let the person work out a strategy for resolving the problem independently rather than rushing in with advice or a pep talk. It is appropriate however, to encourage and reassure the depressed person. If it becomes apparent that the person is not feeling better and the problem is not being resolved, it is time to get outside help.

A good first contact might be a counselling service, a family doctor or someone the person knows and trusts.

Most communities also have mental health associations or clinics that can help with referral and advice. Aboriginal health services will know what to do.

If the person has no interest in seeking help, a friend or family member can make first contact and plan how the person can get help.

In an emergency if a depressed person poses a danger to himself or herself or others those nearby must get professional help against the others person’s overt wishes. One source of such ready to help is the hospital.

Many communities have crisis hotlines which is a quick and effective way to deal with emergency situations.

People who are in trouble can telephone at any time and immediate counselling, sympathy and comfort.

Hotlines also provide information on the community services available to deal with various kinds of problems.

Drug therapy is a useful aid in many depressed patients. These drugs may not cure depression and they may not work for everybody.

For more information or help contact your nearest Aboriginal Medical Service.

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