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Joanna Lumley health: Ab Fab star ‘eclipsed by sadness and depression’ – symptoms

Baftas 2019: Joanna Lumley opens the show

Appearing in blockbusters such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, and Paddington 2, Joanna Lumley’s success hasn’t warded off feelings of “sadness”.

At the beginning of last year, Joanna discussed her mental health on ITV’s The Jonathan Ross Show.

The grandmother-of-two said she occasionally gets “eclipsed by sadness or depression”.

Referring to it as the “black dog on your shoulder”, she continued to say she feels “lousy for two or three months”.

Signs of depression
CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, provide support every day of the year on 0800 58 58 58 from 5pm to midnight.

The charity describes depression as “feeling very low, lethargic or sad often or for long periods of time”.

A sign of depression includes “having difficulty enjoying things that you usually do”.

It clarified that “feeling down” or “out of sorts” now and again is totally normal.

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It’s when the feeling of unhappiness lingers for days, weeks or months that it could be a sign of depression.

The severity of symptoms “varies from person to person” and “from day to day”.

CALM said: “If you are experiencing depression you might feel some, or none, of the following:

  • Feeling low regularly and for long periods of time
  • Finding it difficult to enjoy life
  • Struggling to motivate yourself
  • Having low confidence or self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Being irritable or angry more often
  • Finding it tough to find a way forward
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • Not wanting to be around friends and family or social situations.”

If you’re struggling with challenging thoughts, please call the Samaritans for free on 116 123.

Depression can also have physical symptoms, such as:

  • Lack of energy
  • Low sex drive
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Increased smoking, drinking or taking drugs
  • Moving or speaking slower than usual
  • Difficulty sleeping or disturbed sleep.

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“Many people who experience depression function normally from day to day and can be very successful in their lives and careers,” said CALM.

Triggers for depression can include personal situations, recent or old trauma, and stress.

Sometimes, there is no trigger at all but do remember: “You won’t feel this way forever.”

How to deal with depression
CALM recommends using healthy distractions to get a break from overwhelming feelings.

Suggestions include watching a film, going for a run or singing to your favourite song.

“It is important to face up to your feelings and allow some space for them, though,” added the charity.

This can be done by reaching out to a friend or loved one, or seeking professional support.

Professional support can “help you understand and challenge your thoughts”.

Some practical tips from CALM include challenging negative thought patterns.

For example, try to change from “I can’t do this because” to “I can do this because”.

Another technique is to list things you like about yourself, or to do something nice for someone else – find more tips here.

Joining Emilia Fox, Michael Sheen, David Walliams and Noel Edmonds, Joanna Lumley will be on ITV’s Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway on Saturday, January 2 at 5.15pm.

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