When you’re going through a tough time it’s normal to feel down for a while, emotions like sadness and grief – we all experience it at some point in life, maybe some of us more periodically than others. Sadness and depression have similarities, but they have some eminent differences. When people are sad and express their feelings they might feel better, whereas for people with depression, talking and expressing their pain or feeling may not help. Sadness is generally related to a specific situation, but feeling sad about everything in life can be a sign of depression. For most of us, those sad and helpless feelings come and go. But when sadness persists for a long time and affects your ability to function at work, at home, or in other aspects of your life, it might be a sign of depression. Being sad is perfectly normal and will pass; depression may have a negative impact on your life and needs to be addressed to get you back to a happy, healthy, exciting living. Also, you can check out my other post on living a happy life.
Depression can happen at any age but often begins in adulthood. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Dealing with depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed could be hard. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like cooking your favorite food, going for a walk, watching your favorite series or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting.
Symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. The following common signs and symptoms could be experienced nearly every day, for at least two weeks – a person suffering from depression:
- Extreme sadness or emptiness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Lack of energy, low self-esteem, and dwindling excitement.
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- weight loss or weight gain
- Lose interest in your partner, and bear deep feelings of guilt and hopelessness.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every given symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience other signs of depression that are not on this list. For anyone experiencing this stuckness, it’s important to remember that depression is a very common and highly treatable disorder.
Never allow yourself to indulge in the thought that you are different from or less than anyone else.
Factors leading to the risk of depression:
- A family history of mental disorder
- Consumption of alcohol or recreational drugs
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Traumatic childhood experiences
- Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem or being overly competent
- Uber success, extraordinary life with lack of time for oneself or family
- Under extreme pressure to perform well.
- Serious illness, such as cancer or heart disease
- Side effects of medication taken for certain illness.
- Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder or alcoholism
- Stressful life events, loss of family member or broken relationship.
- Depression after giving birth (postpartum depression)
- Sudden shocking news.
- Reserved nature, no friend circle and mostly in an isolation.
People often think that the rich, privileged, and famous people cannot be depressed or suicidal, but depression is a disease that could affect anyone, at any time in their life. Be sure to know the signs if someone is depressed, and never assume someone “can’t” be depressed based on their life circumstances. If you or anyone you know is depressed and thinking about suicide, try to be there to help and support.
There are many different types of depression. Understanding the type of depression a person is experiencing helps doctors determine the treatment procedure better.
Major Depression(Clinical depression): Major depression is a state where one loses interest in regular activities. Common symptoms – trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless, Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy, Talk therapy, and medication.
Some causes of major depression – Loss of loved one or separation; Physical, mental or sexual abuse; Sudden life changes like job loss, graduation, retirement, shifting to a new place; socially isolated.
Persistent depressive disorder(Dysthymia): A person diagnosed with the persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered a persistent depressive disorder. Often, dysthymia can be treated by a primary care physician.
Its causes could be genetical(Family history of depression), stress, chronic illness, medications, and relationship or work problems may also increase the chances of dysthymia in people.
Atypical depression: Depression with atypical features — means that your depressed mood can brighten in response to positive events. It can affect how you feel, think and behave, and it can lead to emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living. Involves symptoms of Insomnia, Loss of appetite, feeling that your arms or legs are heavy(Paralyzed), and feeling rejected. Atypical depression could be caused as a reaction to external events or circumstances. Treatment for atypical depression includes medication, talk therapy (psychotherapy) and lifestyle changes
Postpartum Depression(PPD): Majority of new mothers go through the baby blues – an emotional state of tearfulness, unhappiness, worry, self-doubt, and fatigue. The baby blues typically begin a few days after delivery and go away on their own in a week or two. PPD can be long-lasting and severely affect a woman’s ability to get through her daily routine, trouble bonding with baby, mood swings, tired feeling all the time. It’s best to see a healthcare provider right away and treatment(counseling, support groups, and medication) can make you feel better so you can take good care of yourself and your baby. Also, it might be helpful to talk things over with someone you trust, try not to be alone and try to rest whenever possible.
Factors leading to Postpartum depression: Hormonal changes, inadequate diet, genetic factor, stress, Lack of a strong support, marital conflict, trouble adjusting to life as a mom, thyroid problem, unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder used to be known as ‘manic depression’ because of the person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania, with periods of normal mood in between, thoughts and activity at higher speed, hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that is not there) or having delusions (intense feeling or worthlessness). Bipolar usually worsens without treatment but can be managed with mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medicines, and talk therapy.
Seasonal depression(SAD): Seasonal depression is a mood disorder that happens during a certain season of the year and it’s most common in winters and falls. During winters people get less exposure to direct sunlight – leads to the brain making less serotonin, a chemical linked to the brain that regulated the mood. SAD sufferers tend to have low energy. Also, they may overeat, oversleep, crave carbs, gain weight, or withdraw from social interaction.
Treatment-resistant depression: Depression is highly treatable with treatments such as therapy, medicine, and lifestyle changes. But, For many people, depression may continue despite treatment. When months or even years can go by without any relief. Coping with a serious chronic disease can be depressing in itself. Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can leave you feeling hopeless and discouraged. It’s best to, work closely with your doctor to find the right combination of treatments that will help you feel better, never skip the doses and alway’s consult your doctor before you stop taking the prescribed medication, and just don’t give up on the treatment.
When to seek emergency help: In a situation where you feel like you could hurt yourself or have a tendency to suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Reach out to a close friend or loved ones and make sure someone stays with you during those tough times.
If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, then talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust. Friends and family, especially those who care about you, will appreciate knowing what’s going on in your mind and talking to them may help you feel connected.
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” — Fred Rogers
**I am not an expert and the above facts are all based on my reading and research on this particular topic with a motive to bring more awareness to mental health issues.
I hope this post brings in some awareness about the reality of depression and more power to those who struggle daily and don’t have enough support. Please let me know your views about this post in the comment section below. Thanks for visiting my blog.
Stay happy and healthy.