The Tunnel

depression  Down in the dumps or just ‘sad’ cannot begin to describe a common mental health disease which effects one out of ten adults. Depression is a serious illness that is not taken as seriously as it should. Some believe that it’ll go away on its own. Or, “I’m not talking to no shrink.” Either way, problems don’t get solved and those individuals go undiagnosed, under the radar, or worse, wish for death. There are numerous types and symptoms of the disease.

Types

Major Depression: Clinical, long lasting, and debilitating.

Bipolar Depression: (This seems to be a fad. Not everyone who has mood swings has bipolar depression.). Here you have major ups (known as mania or manic episodes) and major lows (depression) which alternate.

Cyclothymia: Mild version of bipolar disorder.

Dysthymia: Chronic (more than two years), but less severe than Major Depression.

Seasonal Depression (SAD): This begins at the same time each year based on the season.

Postpartum: Depression kicks in usually one month after mothers give birth.

Atypical: Mild depression with bouts of happiness.

Psychotic: A mix of depression and psychotic features (i.e. hallucinations or delusions).

Situational: Basically, if you weren’t experiencing a particular situation, you wouldn’t have depression symptoms (ex. unemployment, health issues, mourning a death).

Symptoms

Overwhelming sadness, withdrawn, mood swings, crying episodes, appetite and sleep changes (too much or too little), suicidal thoughts, giving away possessions, feeling of worthlessness and feeling hopeless, void of feelings, loss of interest in activities, decreased energy. Children and teens may refuse to go to school, claim to have a lot of aches and pains, sulk a lot, or be clingy.

What’s Next

Some people hate taking pills. Some people don’t want to talk. There’s no cure all when it comes to depression. There are many things that you can do, but sitting back and waiting for the chips to fall as they may is not one of them (especially when children and teenagers are taking their own lives due to this disease).

– Talk with a mental health specialist (social worker, psychiatrist, counselor, therapist). That’s what they are trained to do. It is also part of their oath to be nonjudgmental. I know pride is why a lot of people don’t turn to professionals, but when you need help you need help.

– If you don’t talk to a professional, talk to someone who is close. It’s not healthy to keep everything bottled up. And believe it or not, communication is very therapeutic.

– Get prescription anti-depressants. You would have to see a psychiatrist for the prescription (and maybe even a therapist too).

– Don’t go at it alone, especially if you are suicidal. Spend time with family and friends who truly care about your well-being. Being alone at this time in particular is not safe.

-If you know someone who is depressed, don’t ignore the signs. Listen to them, be there, and encourage them to seek professional help (especially if they are suicidal or worse, homicidal). Depression is way deeper than just being sad or grumpy. It’s something to take seriously.

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