Dec 052012

Depression is far more common than you might suspect.  In fact the Centers For Disease Control estimates that 19 million Americans suffer from it. And 10% to 25% of women will experience it at some point in their life.  Prolonged exposure to stress, as well as significant life changes, such as divorce, having a baby or loss of employment increase the likelihood of depression.

Often times we don’t even realize when we are depressed.  Let’s face it, life can be overwhelming and we are often stressed, so it is difficult to see if something deeper is going on.

Depression is different than just having “the blues”. With some life events or even just on any regular day, we may feel a little down.

The key difference between a “down day” and depression is the severity of the symptoms. Ask yourself the question, are your symptoms interfering with your everyday life? And then, are the symptoms present most of the time? Have the symptoms been for more than two weeks?

11 Signs of Depression:

  1. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings: May look like a “bad” mood, but this mood lasts even after the “cause” of the bad mood has cleared up.
  2. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable: This is one of the single most telling symptom of depression. You no longer enjoy the things you once enjoyed doing. Or you have little to no interest/motivation to do the things important to you or that you enjoy.
  3. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness: A pessimistic view, feelings that everything is wrong and it’s your fault.
  4. Regular crying episodes: The crying may not have an obvious trigger.  The crying seems to come out of nowhere.
  5. Poor appetite or overeating: Either there is a need to over eat or there is a lack of interest in eating altogether.
  6. Heightened agitation and restlessness: Some may find themselves hyper, unable to relax, more irritable than usual or quick to anger. Also, things are intensified. Slight irritations are met with huge reactions.
  7. Fatigue and decreased energy: Some are not restless or agitated; instead they have an increased sluggishness and slowness.
  8. Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions: A noticeable change in your ability to concentrate, make decisions or in your memory.
  9. Sleeping too much or not enough: For some, insomnia is present, while others experience the need to “sleep all the time”.
  10. Expressing thoughts of dying or suicide: Thoughts of dying or suicide may be present particularly if the depression has lasted a long duration. Suicide begins to seem like a reasonable way to end the suffering.
  11. Persistent headaches, aches or digestive problems not cured with treatment: Depression is stressful. Chronic stress is very unhealthy for our bodies. Poor self-care and stress can start to weigh on our body, contributing to physical health issues.  Our bodies also respond to unresolved emotional troubles.

Depression…what a wonderful topic to think about us we approach this holiday season!

However, depression often increases during this time of year. We are exposed to less sunlight, are often more stressed and/or have to face difficult situations.

This post is not meant to be an exhaustive medical diagnosis for depression, but rather a resource for guidance.  If any of the above statements are true for you, I encourage you to seek help from someone you trust, a counselor or your doctor. If you are not sure, but some of the statements seem true for you, then ask someone you trust to comment on what they have noticed.

If you are experiencing #10, thoughts of dying or suicide, I urge you to seek professional help immediately. It is critical for you to keep yourself safe. Know that it can get better. You are a beautiful creation.

I want to remind you that there is no shame in experiencing depression and you do not have to go it alone.



© 2012 Standing on Peace