Have you ever felt sad, lonely, anxious, irritable or lack motivation? At some point we all feel these emotions. We all experience these emotions and it is totally normal and healthy to feel them.
While certainly uncomfortable, emotions like sadness, worry, or loneliness aren't bad or negative, they're just part of the human experience and exist to help us; they keep us safe, spur us to connect, and propel us to change. -Kimberly Mahr
These uncomfortable feelings are normal reactions to certain life stressors such as the loss of a loved one, stress, relational issues, grief and etc. Most of the time during and after these situations a person is able to go through their life functionally or bounce back from the blues.
But what if we are not able to bounce back? What if we get stuck in this suffering? When these emotions persist and become a pattern, it can lead to a mood we call depression.
Often those suffering from depression feel empty, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, irritable and have body and thought process changes which affect their ability to function. There are many types of depressive disorders, but they all share some or all of these common symptoms.
Feeling of Hopelessness
Unintentional Weight Loss or Gain
Insomnia or Excessive Sleep
Loss of Appetite
Lack of Interest in Activities
How common is depression? Here are some of the stats from a 2017 study of adults in the US:
An estimated 17.3 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 7.1% of all U.S. adults.
The prevalence of major depressive episode was higher among adult females (8.7%) compared to males (5.3%).
The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (13.1%).
The prevalence of major depressive episode was highest among adults reporting two or races (11.3%).
But here's the thing: depression isn't a moral failing or character defect. In some, if not many cases, depression can be attributed at least in part to a chemical imbalance in the brain. In these cases, medical care used in conjunction with therapy can help you learn how to manage your symptoms and develop strategies to improve your quality of life.
In other cases, because let's face it, life can be hard, development of depression may simply be a response to a chronic situation, deeply seeded beliefs about ourselves, poor self-care, lack of supports, or even because of historical traumas.
The good news? There is help for people suffering from depression. If you or a loved on is suffering from depression it is important to tell you doctor and seek care from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist. You can do something about it and break the silence of your suffering.
In order to determine if you are suffering from depression or a depressive disorder it is important that you seek consultation from a licensed mental health clinician. A therapist will be able to determine what's really going on, and then help you embark on the best path to aid you in treatment and healing.
If you or someone you know needs help, talk with your healthcare provider or if you live in Arizona, give me a call! I have experience in helping people heal from the past, find meaning and joy in the present, and embrace hope for the future and in many cases can support you via video sessions!
If you are struggling, you may also reach out to 1-800-662-HELP (4357)or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. This is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service can help provide referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. You can also order free publications and other information.