Chances are, that if you’re reading this, Depression has touched your life.
It is overwhelmingly prevalent in today’s society of pervasive technology, stress and disconnection.
With a background in Psychology and some serious life experience surrounding the area of depression, I feel compelled to shed some insight into depression, and the differences in how it manifests in each individual. This information is intended to enlighten, educate and provide resources if you or someone you love is showing signs of depression.
I like to think of our emotions as being a slight rolling line or similar to a children’s’ roller coaster whereby sometimes we are happier, and sometimes we are sadder, but generally, everything is fairly even with minor ups and downs along the way. While we all have moments in our lives when we don’t feel as happy or joyful as we did yesterday, typically these downward curves should not represent more than their opposite up curves, or happier days. When we do experience more ‘down’ days than ‘up’ days and the down days fill us with a deeper sense of sadness than they normally do, or are building or growing in the sense of sadness, causing an interference with normal life, we are thought to be depressed. Again, the depressive spectrum is varied and should be assessed by a mental health professional.
Depression can be a lifelong illness or an acute affliction brought about by situational life events.
How to know if you or someone you love is depressed
Typically, a person is thought to be depressed if several of these factors are present:
- feeling depressed or sad (or irritable) most of the day
- loss of interest or pleasure in doing things you previously enjoyed
- unintentional weight loss or gain
- sleeping too little or sleeping too much
- noticeably moving very slowly (or, conversely, quickly and agitatedly)
- feeling fatigued or loss of energy nearly every day
- feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, or like you have let others or yourself down
- difficulty concentrating or with the ability to think clearly
- recurring thoughts of death or that you were better off dead, or thoughts of suicide
These often manifest differently in men and women and to varying degrees.
There are also other changes that can be noted:
- isolated incidences of anxiety
- sexual dysfunction
- uncontrolled rage
- generalized information processing issues
- memory changes
- cognitive impairment
- preoccupation with negativity
The importance in identifying the symptoms, is to understand the behavior when it is presented.
No one is safe from Depression. It will sneak up on you when you least expect it and accumulate to the point when you can barely breathe.
First Steps…you are not alone
Seeking medical help with your doctor is the first step. Their assessment of your emotional status is imperative in determining treatment options. Next, a variety of methods can be applied and combined to pave the pathway to increase feelings of happiness and contentment:
- diet modifications
- exercise regimen
- holistic supplements
- essential oil therapy
- prescription medication
- counseling or psychotherapy
Any combination of these can assist in regaining emotional balance.
Living with depression and trying to help someone you love who is suffering from these symptoms can feel like an isolating, never-ending battle of negativity and fear. It’s common for the depressed person to deny their feelings and actions and not want to seek help. It is also common for the loved one to feel overwhelmed, anxious and carry immense stress. This is often an isolating experience and it is difficult to reach out to friends and family so you end up feeling totally alone.
It is imperative to get help. Health practitioners are meant to provide resources and to demonstrate that there are techniques, medications and holistic alternatives that can change how you feel.
You are not alone. We have ALL been there. XO