What is depression?
Around the world, it is currently reported that 121 million people are suffering from depression (www.healthline.com). There are many factors that affect each and every one of those that suffer, but the inner pain is the same. This pain is deeply seated in our inner being and can have a negative effect on our decision making, our psychological and our physiological health.
Depression in all of its forms is a common human occurrence, yet, depression is misunderstood and most of the time we use destructive coping mechanisms to deal with it.
In general, depression disorders include a deep heartfelt emotional experience that is absent of hope and has a constant companion of pessimism.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) agrees with the above and adds that, “The common feature of all of these disorders is the presence of sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic and cognitive changes that significantly affect the individual’s capacity to function” (p. 155).
Symptoms of Depression:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, and Low mood, not wanting to go anywhere do anything.
- Feelings of hopelessness,
- Feelings of low self-worth, worthlessness,
- Increase in irritability, anger
- Classical symptoms such as, loss of appetite, changes in sleep, losing interest in pleasurable activities, body pain, Loss of concentration
- Thoughts of suicide and self-harm,
An example of depression a person’s daily life:
Ann, a 27-year-old business professional who lives with her two cats, Sam and Cujo, is currently experiencing depression. She has been in real estate ever since she graduated from college and had a successful career. She makes good money, has a nice house, and in the recent past has enjoyed her life. But, for the past month, she has gained 20 pounds, drinks 6 to ten beers a day after work, and has weekly bouts of emotional crying. Daily, she struggles to get out of bed, and on the weekends she stays home, and binge watches Netflix with her two cats. Her motivation to do anything, go anywhere, or hang out with friends has vanished.
When should I seek out a counselor?
If you feel that depression is getting out of control in your life, that is when you should reach out and seek professional help. Seeking out a professional to help you gain insight, understanding and psychological help, is like hiring a coach to help throw the ball better, swim faster or like math or language tutor, who helps advance your academic skills.
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein
Do I need to take medications?
This question should be answered by your primary care provider. Medication can help alleviate the feelings, emotions, urges, and sensations of anxiety but will not cure them.
Thoughts of Suicide?
If you are feeling suicidal and this is a life threatening emergency then please call 911. If you do not feel this is a life threatening emergency then please contact the Clark County Crisis line or for a National Resource then please contact The National Suicide Prevention Line.
There are different types of self-help therapy for Depression. Below are some good resources that are available either from Amazon or the local book store.
- The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs. By Stephen S. Ilardi.
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. By David D. Burns
- The Happiness Trap. By Russ Harris
- The Mindfulness And Acceptance Workbook for Depression. By Patricia J. Robinson and Kirk D. Stosahl.
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