My Experience with Depression
Nurse's have Their Special Niche-Mental Illness is Not My Niche
If you speak to any nurse, they will tell you that they have areas of nursing that they love and areas that they just cannot work with because they have a distaste for that particular health field.
Nurses are individuals who all have likes and dislikes and I was no different. The field of nursing that I really enjoyed working in was the emergency room, pediatrics or children's health and medical and surgical patients. I also enjoyed nursing the senior populace. There is a wealth of wisdom that the senior can pass on to others.
Now for the patients that I did not like working with was alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression and other mental illnesses. I did not like working in mental health, partly because I did not fully understand the illness and partly because I did not know how to help the person, other than to push prescribed medications.
Some of my early beliefs were that the person could control their own depression so I had no tolerance. I am the first to acknowledge how very wrong my thinking was at the time.
My Personal Opinion (Years Ago)
I had no tolerance for people with depression. I always felt that when one is depressed, they should know enough to pull up their boot strings and get going with life, plain and simple. I found out the hard way that a depressed person could not just simply wish this illness away.
Depression in General
It was not until I went three days without sleep and had some serious situations arise in our family that I finally broke down. I finally had to admit I was depressed and needed some short-term help from our doctor.
Depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. People just cannot help how they feel because depression has a lot to do with a change of chemical balance in the brain. Medication is the only thing that is going to bring these necessary chemicals within a natural balance.
These days research have come up with some newer antidepressant medications that are safe and tolerable, showing fewer side effects, and is very efficient.
Doctors treat no patient the same way with the same plan of care for wellness because each person reacts to medication differently. No one treatment works the same for everyone. Some reasons for depression may require different treatment processes and different medication.
- Depression in children and adolescents
- Depression from bipolar
- Depression related to alcohol and drug abuse
- Depression of the senior
- Postpartum depression
- Depression from neuroses
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
In essence, depression is a mental illness that never goes away, but can be arrested and controlled. There is nothing to be ashamed of when symptoms of depression raise their ugly head. Everyone on planet, earth suffers from depression at some stage of his or her lifetime. Usually these episodes are short-term and some people do overcome depression without medicine or treatment.
Any number of things can occur with depression episodes such as hypo-mania. This is where the person has thoughts that come and go from the brain. These thoughts are too quick for the person to assess or sort out. The result is anxiety and confusion of the person affected.
Depression is a slow thought process. Strings of thoughts are so slow that the person loses the thought or the person cannot complete the entire thought. Sometimes the person gives repeated thought to unimportant and trivial issues.
A person who is obsessive and compulsive may have thoughts or ideas that occur to them repeatedly, which blocks the person's attention to a natural thought process.
For example, while I worked in the pediatrics unit at our local hospital, I cared for a cute little girl. This five year old was obsessive and compulsive, such as when she washed her hands, she would dry off her hands and have to go back and dry her hands the same way a few more times. When I asked her why she felt the need to do this she told me, "The devil will get me if I don't." This little miss was at risk for chronic adult depression and an obsessive compulsive disorder. Her need to do things were very real to her.
Depression can stem from chronic health issues, the inability to function like you feel you should function, and make you feel disconnected from family and friends and the rest of the world. You may feel inadequate in all you do and say to others. Rejection by anyone makes you depressed and the reasons keep adding up and soon take their toll on you to the point that you display signs and symptoms of depression for whatever the reason got you to this point.
As a Nurse, I Forced Myself to Understand my Fears of Depression
I have taken care of several patients who attempted suicide due to depression. A doctor explained to me years ago, most people who attempt suicide does not really want to die, so in some ways blotch their efforts at suicide because in essence they do not really want to die but want help for how they are feeling. Then there are the few who succeed in their suicide attempt, such as Mr. Robin Williams, whom I can only assume, wanted no further medical help.
Robin Williams must have been in so much pain and torment that he just wanted these feelings to stop. He must have constituted the decision not to want help anymore, merely only to end it all and bring peace to his agonized mind.
There are periods of depression when the person is so overwhelmed. These periods seem to come when there is a significant life changing issue, such as divorce, a firing, a death and much more.
Prevention of suicide is the first step of identifying depression-warning signs. The problem is that many people are embarrassed to have this mental health issue known and succeed in keeping their depression concealed most of the time. This is where anyone can jump in and help the person.
Since we all know that Robin Williams was a gifted and very talented actor, he must have also been very good at covering up the hurt and pain he possibly endured. Suicide is more often than not a spur of the moment action and if the depressed person does not desire to oppose this evil anymore, they will win in the efforts to end their life.
Offer Help to the Person with Depression
You Know the Person is Depressed, Offer Conversation and Ask Questions
The majority of people has heard and do trust that just mentioning suicide gives the person the idea to proceed ending their life. This is simply untrue. When you ask a depressed person if they are thinking of taking their life, it actually helps to get the problem out in the open. It is important to allow the depressed person to vent; this allows the person to feel soothed and understood.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression-Be Aware
Even though there are many different reasons for depression, there are a few basic signs and symptoms of depression.
- Feelings of acute hopelessness, anxiety, sadness, unworthiness, helplessness
- No appetite or excessive appetite
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Withdrawal and isolation from family and friends
- Withdrawal from usual friends and activities
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Substantial problems such as with alcohol and drugs
- Expression of "I just want this over"
- Giving away valued possessions
The individual suffering with depression cannot help him or her. It takes a family member, friend or co-worker to bring signs and symptoms to the surface in order to the affected person.
- Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs: How to Recognize Depression Symptoms and Get Effective Help
Struggling with depression? Learn about depression symptoms, warning signs, and causes, plus what you can do to feel better.
- NIMH · Depression
Depression is a serious medical illness; it is not something that you have made up in your head.
More by this Author
This is a follow up for the article "The Crazy Cat Lady". Not only did our family have a family of felines, our family took in a number of strays that have a story to tell. Rest a spell and enjoy.
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