How Depression affects you and those around you
What causes Depression?
Depression has many causes: genetic, chemical, stress-related, cause-related, chronic pain related, environmental, the list is a lengthy one. However, once someone has depression, no matter the cause, their life changes dramatically as does the lives of those who are close to them. Sadly, over 90% of people who commit suicide are suffering from clinical depression.
This is depression
Don’t tell me that you understand, when you have never been there
Don’t tell me that I need to stop, when your soul was never laid bare
Don’t tell me that you’ve been there and it was easy to climb out
Until you feel that pain inside that turns you inside out
Is depression easy to diagnose and treat?
Depression affects millions of people around the globe most of whom are never diagnosed and/or treated. Others who have been diagnosed don’t always receive the proper or needed treatment. More often than not, people with depression believe that the depression is their fault and they should be able to cure themselves. Or they feel that if the physician gives them medication and it isn’t working for them then the fault is in them, not the medication. Depression is hard to treat because it has so many causes. And sadly, treatment for depression (like most mental illnesses) is a hit and miss process until the right medication and dosage is found. Sadly, many who are depressed don’t follow up with their physician because they are afraid of being disciplined for not taking their dosages (when they are) instead of receiving understanding that the dose they are taking isn’t working for them.
Depression hurts. Do you think you might be depressed?
I could ask questions all day and many would indicate that you are depressed; however....
The basic theme here is: when you are depressed nothing seems to be right. You hurt, are tired, can’t seem to think or speak right, never seem to be up on what others around you are doing or saying, and all you want to do is hide in a corner so no one notices you. You feel that you have hit the bottom of the barrel and someone is below you sawing out the bottom.
The quiz to the right can give you an idea about depression and you, but it is not 'set in stone' as they say. No one but a professional can diagnose depression. If you need more information about depression, you can click on this link to the National Mental Health website.
You may have the symptoms and not be depressed:
Often, people who are angry or tired are sometimes tricked into thinking they are depressed when the cause can be totally unrelated. For example: someone with anemia (extreme low iron in the blood) may be constantly tired and feel achy when they try to do things. They may not want to join the crowd and they may want to sit or lie down all day. But they are not depressed, they are anemic.
Is there hope?
Yes, but the solution isn’t easy. It takes counseling, medications, training, knowledge of what is causing your depression and help from others. Depression won’t just stop because you are taking medication and seeing a physician. It lingers, like a germ would linger, in the background of your mind and emotions, waiting for the right moment (when you are beginning to feel that you really can climb back up) to pounce once more. It guides your thoughts and your actions. It keeps trying to tell you that you can’t do it. It keeps reminding you of the past. It keeps blocking happy thoughts of the future.
Family might get angry and say things like the statements below:
“Snap out of it will ya, we have things to do!” or “Not again, why don’t you just go in your room so the rest of us can enjoy the moment!” or “I can’t take this anymore. You want to do something bad, then go do it and get it over with, I’m tired of trying to stop you!”
How does it affect those around you if you are depressed?
When someone is depressed they may cry a lot, leaving family at a loss as to what to do to make it better for them. It is hard to understand the constant complaining of pain, exhaustion and/or feelings of inadequacy. Often close family and friends get tired of the constant ‘down’ of someone who is depressed and say things that hurt even more. These statements seem right to them because they feel a depressed person just needs that little ‘kick in the emotional behind’ to wake up and begin living again. Sadly, those who don’t receive help will seek other ways to end the horror, pain, and overwhelming sense of inadequacy that plagues them so much.
Depression is not just a moment of anger or frustration, it can be a lifetime of despair.
What is the best way for family and friends to help?
There is no set way, just like there is no set treatment. Mostly a depressed person needs someone they can turn to that will allow them to talk out the issue at hand without condemning them for their thoughts. They will need support, love, kindness, understanding, empathy, and yes a dollop or reality tossed in. But telling them to grow up or get over it will only send the person deeper into their depression because they can’t stop what is happening. They have no control over it. They can’t stop the roller coaster of feelings that can totally overwhelm them.
What should you do if you feel you or someone close to you has depression? First: you are not CRAZY! Second: seek help with your family physician. If they don’t seem to be able to help, then seek help with an agency that specializes in that type of care and treatment. There is help and there is hope for someone who suffers from depression.
You might want to visit the following for more information
- National Mental Health Association | Mental Health - The National Council
The National Council is a mental health advocate and is a part of the National Mental Health Association.
- NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness - Mental Health Support, Education and Advocacy
© 2012 Cheryl Simonds
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