We are all affected by depression one way or another. Find out how we're all affected by depression in this episode.
Whether you have experienced depression yourself, or you know someone who is struggling with it, we are all affected by depression.
Amazingly, according to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) as many as 8% American adults have experienced major depressed at some point in their lives, and women are twice as likely to be depressed. That's a lot of people affected by depression.
Sadly, as a therapist I see many children who are affected by depressed as well. What does this say about our culture and society? There are a lot of very sad and emotionally distressed people who are hurting out, and chances are you're one of them.
Are you affected by depression?
Depression is not just simply feeling blue or "down-in-the-dumps", although someone affected by depression can start out that way.
True depression takes over a person's mind and body and often prevents them from doing normal day-to-day activities.
Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, numbness, brokenness, and loneliness often invade rational thinking. Depression can cause someone to shut down from life and therefore rob them from any enjoyment in life.
Symptoms of Depression
It can be pretty obvious when someone has depression, but here are a few symptoms to look for during (at least) a two-week period:
- Lack of interest in most activities.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Disturbance in eating patterns. (eats too much, or eats too little)
- Sudden change in mood or attitude.
- Easily irritable.
- Loss of motivation.
- Withdraws from people (wants to stay home all the time).
Types of Depression
There are several types of clinical depression. Few of the more common types are Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Cyclothymic Disorder. Depression can also become more problematic during the winter months when the weather is more gloomy.
What Causes of Depression?
The causes of depression can vary from person to person, but there is evidence to indicate that depression is biological (in your family genes), or environmental (something bad happened). If you have depression you're not abnormal, crazy, or a freak - you just have intrusive feelings.
[Tweet "If you have depression you're not abnormal, crazy, or a freak - you just have intrusive feelings."]
What Can Help Depression?
There are no quick fixes for depression, but there are some things that can be done to aid in feeling better, such as:
- Regular exercise (even walking can help you feel better)
- Eat a healthy diet (your mom is right, eat your fruits and vegetables)
- Get some sun (let the sunlight shine on you)
- Talk to someone about how you are feeling (be honest)
- Seek a professional therapist
- Medication (medication could be needed to help with a chemical imbalance in the brain)
- Pray (prayer has been known to help many people cope with depression).
What to do When Someone Else has Depression?
It can be hard to know what to do or say to someone who is depressed, but saying or doing nothing could make things worse. Here are a few suggestions of "do's" and "don'ts" that may help.
- Be encouraging
- Be ready to actively listen
- Do something unexpected and nice
- Write an encouraging note (hand write it)
- Tell them you are thinking and praying for them
- Judge (never make them feel more guilty than they already feel)
- Tell them to just get over it
- Ignore them
- Get mad at them
Depression can be so debilitating and yet so hard to overcome. Sometimes there is no real explanation of why depression hits.
Someone who is depressed will often feel very isolated and lonely, yet they may try to keep others at bay.
Depression is not picky in who it chooses. It may be a family member, someone in church, a co-worker, the woman at the checkout line, a spouse, the young mom in the store with a crying baby, or maybe even your boss.
Somehow, someway, depression affects all of us. My hope is that we will be able and ready to help, or at least have a better understanding of someone who suffers from depression.