In honor of mental health awareness month, RK Care Group is dedicated to shedding light on different mental health conditions and challenges that millions fight against every day. This post is focused on demystifying depression, and shedding light on the pain that those with depression experience. Depression is a serious condition also known as major depressive disorder. Many people misuse the word depression as they do not understand that dealing with depression is a lot deeper than feeling sad. Depression can impact many areas of our lives. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in America. The most recent studies suggest that depression is a result of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Many times, people avoid their symptoms of depression because they think that eventually the symptoms will subside. Also, many people think that if they avoid their depression it will go away. It is not uncommon that individuals silently suffer with depression. They may suffer in silence because they are ashamed by their thoughts and feelings or they just want to avoid dealing with it all together. Depression doesn’t discriminate who it affects by age, gender, race, career, relationship status, or socioeconomic status. It can affect anyone at any point in their life, including children and adolescents, however, in children and teens it appears as more irritability than sad mood.
Like many other mental health conditions, depression looks differently for everyone. Therefore, two different people could have major depressive disorder and experience completely different symptoms. There are commons symptoms that people experience but it is important to note that not everyone experiences the same symptoms at the same level of severity or duration. The common symptoms of depression are experiencing a:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
- Most people will report feeling down or having the “blues”
- Decreased level of interest or pleasure in most activities
- This is often described as no interest in hobbies, sports, activities or other things the person used to enjoy doing
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Someone with depression often does not have an appetite or has too much of an appetite
- Change in sleeping patterns known and insomnia or hypersomnia
- Someone may be sleeping too much unable to wake up or sleeping too little and cannot seem to fall asleep when trying
- Restlessness, inability to sit still, changes in speech patter i.e. talking too slow or too fast
- Fatigue or exhaustion where the person feels unable to take part in activities that they used to.
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day
- This often plays out in negative self-talk or negative thoughts of yourself.
- Feeling helpless and hopeless about ever getting out of “the funk”
- One may feel trapped by their negative feelings and may think they will never get out
- Recurrent thoughts of death or hoping that their life would just end
- This includes recurrent suicidal ideas without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide. It can also include wishes that they would not wake up the next day or lack of worry if something happened to them.
Depression is serious and can be very painful, but fortunately it is treatable. The emotional pain that is associated with depression is real and overwhelming. It is important for individuals suffering with depression to know that help is out there. For some people this may mean that you go see a mental health therapist who can guide and assist them through the challenges you are dealing with. In addition, you can see a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication that helps with your mood. Also, many people see a psychiatrist and visit a therapist simultaneously which has been found to be very helpful.
There are various types of mental health conditions that are associated with depression such as:
- Major Depressive Disorder
- This is characterized by an overwhelming depressed mood for more than two weeks.
- The depressed mood affects all facets of the person’s life, including work, home life, relationships and friendships.
- Similar to Major Depressive Disorder and can last for over two years. It is considered a chronic form of depression
- Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood
- This occurs when a person is adjusting to some new facet or change in their lives that has caused a great deal of stress.
In addition to mental health treatment, it is recommended that individuals dealing with depression understand that coping with mental health challenges can cause you to experience stages very similar to stages of grief. Individuals with a new mental health diagnosis experience:
- Shock at having to deal with something challenging and scary that you have no prior experience of.
- Denial which results in difficulty accepting having a health problem, particularly one that it is related to mental health
- Despair and angerat having to deal with the condition and its related difficulties.
- Acceptance of having a condition and the changes it may bring. Part of this is also about accepting how others see you and how you see yourself.
- Coping by finding new ways to live with and deal with these changes and difficulties.
When seeking help and support for treating your depression keep in mind that there are different treatment options and modalities that can help you. This could be individual, family, or group counseling which at times is done in conjunction with psychiatric services. If you want a deeper understanding ask yourself “where can I get a psychological evaluation near me?” or “ where are there mental health services close to my home?”. At RK Care Group, we stand against the stigma that exists towards mental illness and we want you to know that you are not alone in your fight. For more information, please visit www.rkcaregroup.com