We’ve probably all said, “I’m depressed” at one time in our lives. Depressed because our favorite team lost the Super bowl, depressed because we no longer fit into our favorite pair of skinny jeans or maybe because we experienced a significant loss, such as the death of a parent, spouse, child or friend.
But what if you find yourself depressed and there is no because?
What if you just feel depressed, then what?
Let me take a minute to give a working definition of depression and make sure we are all on the same page.
Depression is more than just having a case of the blues or the blahs. It is a condition that affects the way you think, feel and behave. Depression causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest regardless of situation and circumstances. It can vary from mild to life threatening if it is allowed to go untreated or misdiagnosed.
Depression can lead to a wide variety of physical and emotional problems and can be debilitating as it robs a person of their personality, their passion and purpose for living.
Headaches, back pain, joint pain, intestinal issues, loss of interest, feelings of worthlessness, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances as well as thoughts of death or suicide are but a few of the symptoms associated with depression.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in a place where no matter how hard you try; you just can’t seem to shake it. You wind yourself up; convince yourself that if you just try harder, if you have more faith, if you could just get past this thing then you would feel better.
Does any of this sound/feel familiar? If it does, please know that you are not alone.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of 10 Americans reports having experienced the effects of Depression. Chances are you or someone you love has experienced depression.
The important thing to know here is that there is help.
I have a good friend who has struggled with depression for many years. She has done all the “right things”. She has sought medical help, she has been in therapy, she has read books and tried to talk to people for encouragement. She has prayed and fasted and in the end she grew more and more despondent.
It can be both sad and scary to watch someone you love seemingly slip away as the fog of depression settles in casting a grim and gloomy picture of reality. Fortunately for my friend she eventually got in front of the right physician who was able to offer her hope and she is re engaging with life again with a renewed sense of hope and purpose. In this case my friend had a “happy ending”, this is not always the case for others.
My sister struggled with depression for most of her life. Unfortunately, she chose to self medicate with alcohol and prescription drugs. This led to a downward spiral of depression, self – loathing, destructive behaviors, alienation and ultimately death. Her life and death are a cautionary tale to those who think they can manage their depression on their own, in private without help.
If you find yourself questioning if you are depressed or if you know someone who is, take the first step. Talk to someone. A friend, a co- worker, a pastor/priest/rabbi, family physician or consult with a therapist or school guidance counselor.
Because depression is a serious condition, I am obligated to include this warning:
If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away:
• Call your doctor’s office.
• Call your county’s Mental Health Department
• Call 911 for emergency services.
• Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
• Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (1-800- 273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
• Ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital.
IF YOU HAVE A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND IN A CRISIS
If you have a family member or friend who is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help immediately from an emergency room, physician, or mental health professional. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wishing to die. Even if you do not believe your family member or friend will actually attempt suicide, the person is clearly in distress and can benefit from your help in receiving mental health treatment.
Below are some links to some places to begin your journey of hope.
How have you or someone close to you been affected by depression? If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, please email me from the contact page.