Some words about: Depression:
“Depression happens, it appears, and then… it disappears. All feelings come and go; feelings are not permanent. With help, depression is not permanent.”
Thought is constantly changing: “I wonder what new idea or feeling is going to grab my attention next? I wonder what is coming up next?”
Depression is a mood disorder in which a persistent feeling of sadness lasts at least two weeks; during which there is a depressed mood (feeling: sad, hopeless, helpless, discouraged), or the loss of interest, or pleasure in nearly all activities.
The individual also reports changes in appetite or weight, sleep, and psychomotor activities (physical movement, coordination), decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness, or guilt, difficult thinking-concentrating, or making decisions, or recurrent thoughts of death, or suicidal ideation.
Some individuals emphasize somatic complaints (body aches, and pains) instead of reporting feelings of sadness. Other individuals may report or exhibit increase irritability (anger outbursts, blaming others, or exaggerated sense of frustration over minor matters).
In children and adolescents, an irritable or cranky mood may develop instead of a sad or dejected mood.
Depressed mood is nearly always characterized by a loss of interest in hobbies, or not feeling any enjoyment in activities that the individual used to find pleasurable.
Just like worry, and anxiety, depression affects your feelings, moods, and behaviors. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical challenges. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life is not worth living.
Symptoms of Depression
Below there is a list of symptoms that mental health professional will want to know about if you reach out for help due to depression:
– Feeling sad, hopeless, and helpless
– Feeling angry, irritable, and frustrated by regular daily events
– Worry, anxiety: feeling restless, and agitated
– Feeling shame, guilt, worthlessness, and ruminating about past mistakes
– Unexplained physical problems: backpains, headaches, muscle aches (not caused by a medical condition)
– Trouble concentrating, difficulty making decisions, inability to focus, and forgetting things
– Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, no sexual drive (not caused by a medical condition)
– Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation
Older adults experiencing depression report memory difficulties, or personality changes. Others report fear of going out to socialize, or losing interest to participate in activities they used to enjoy. Fear of falling, or looking stupid, or feeling out of place.
If you are dealing with depression call your doctor; or mental health professional. Depression can be a temporary condition and you don’t have to deal with this alone, there is help available. If you know someone who is dealing with depression listen to them, keep them company, and gently but firmly suggest seeing a doctor, or mental professional as soon as possible. Even if they are reluctant to reach out for help, suggest talking to a close family member, a loved one, a friend, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone they trust.
Experiencing depression is a natural occurrence, it is part of the life experience; like catching the flu, or breaking a leg or an arm, but depression is not a regular stage in life.
Depression may occur only once in a lifetime, and there are many individuals that experience many episodes of depression. During a depression episode, symptoms occur most of the day.
Depression affects individuals in different ways, some people may experience severe symptoms that are easy to identify and visibly impact day to day activities, others may simply feel unhappy, restless, or experience a constant low mood without knowing they are depressed.
Sometimes when we feel hopeless, helpless, and can’t see a way out of difficult situations for a while; we get discouraged, and death starts to appear as a possible way out.
Suicidal ideation (thinking about death many times during the day) is one of the many symptoms of major depression, and it may also occur in individuals with no mental illness at all.
For prevention purposes, there are two kinds of suicidal ideations: passive, and active suicidal ideation.
Passive suicidal ideation: occurs when I wish I was dead, I wish that I could die, but I don’t actually have a plan to commit suicide.
Active suicidal ideation: is not only wishing I was dead or thinking about death, but having the intent to commit suicide, including details, and planning how to do it.
Help for Depression
There is help for individuals experiencing depression, or any other mental illness. You don’t have to face this alone. You are not broken or damaged. You are simply dealing with a lot at this time, and even though your system is designed to bounce back, at this time your system is overwhelmed and you need external help.
You may need to take medication, or you may need to talk to someone for a while, or you may need both medication and therapy. And in time you will have an insight, and see beyond the darkness of depression, and return to mental health. Once you see beyond the darkness and gain a deeper awareness of how resilient we humans are, you will notice the difference and return to mental health.
Take good care of your body, build a support system, get active, relax, and above all, don’t isolate yourself.
Remember to practice intentional breathing: slowly inhale to the count of six (6), and slowly exhale for as long as you can (count to 12). Repeat as many times as possible.
Yes, it is true, there are many people who feel hopeless, and helpless and commit suicide, and there are many others who reach out for help, and get better.
Reach out: talking to someone regularly, especially if it is face to face, to a counselor, faith leader, or friend makes a big difference.
• Call 911
• Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
• Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line
• Call your doctor or mental health professional, or go to the emergency room if you are having suicidal thoughts. Doctors will evaluate your risk and recommend hospitalization if needed, or refer you to a mental health professional
Until next time, yours
J. Enrique Roman