- Mental Health
Depression: Is it Mind over Matter?
Depression or Sadness?
I'm sure at one point or another during your life you have been overcome by sadness. Whatever the root cause of that sadness is; be it a death of a loved one, loss of a job, income, pet etc. sadness just plain sucks.
But are You Sad or Depressed?
I hope to shed some light on the differences between sadness and being classified as clinically depressed. Hopefully you find some comfort in knowing that you are not alone and that you can overcome this.
Sadness has a pretty easy definition, according to dictionary.com, sadness is explained as someone being affected by unhappiness or grief. For all intents and purposes sadness is an emotion and as time heals the wounds the person who is sad often is able to pull themselves through the "slump".
Sadness can also be replaced by joy, happiness, and the ability to see through the negative emotions and anticipate the positive emotions.
For example, empty nest syndrome could be categorized as a case of immense sadness.
A case where the sufferer is missing their loved one's who have moved on to the next stage in life (college, marriage, etc.).
However, the sufferer is usually able to see this as a positive effect and the sadness begins to fade over time as it is replaced with joy that your child or children have become adults.
What is Depression?
Depression is a sadness indeed, a sadness felt throughout your whole body. A complete sadness that takes over all other thoughts, feelings and/or emotions and allows no joy into your life.
Depression robs you of your motivation, spirit and a "light at the end of the tunnel".
Depression makes you feel helpless, hopeless, robs you of your self-esteem and just makes you feel plain tired.
Symptoms of Depression
The main symptoms of depression as classified by the DSM-IV are:
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Impaired or lack of concentration
- Insomnia (inability to sleep)
- Hypersomnia (sleeping all day)
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Unjustified aches or pains
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- A sense of restlessness (racing thoughts, inability to sit still)
- Significant changes in weight (loss or gain)
It is important to note that 3 or more of the above mentioned symptoms must be displayed over an extended period of time (usually 2 weeks of daily or semi-daily suffering is sufficient for diagnostic criteria) for an accurate diagnosis of depression to be made. However any of the above mentioned symptoms deserve care and attention in an attempt to "sort" things out.
Be Honest With Your Doctor
Remember to mention if you have suffered any traumatic loss in the preceding months. A complete family history may also provide valuable clues in a correct diagnosis.
Some Argue that Depression is in One's Mind...
while this is semi-true it is not 100% true and can actually be quite discouraging to the person suffering from depression.
Depression is a brain disease, a disease where the brain lacks the proper chemicals to see through the sadness and move forward.
However with proper treatment these chemicals the depressed brain lack can be restored and the sufferer can begin to heal.
The Bucket Analogy on Depression and the Mind
Picture if you will 2 buckets, both buckets sit out in the rain and both buckets are replenished as the rain pours.
However one bucket has holes in it.
One bucket is unable to stay full simply because of it's holes.
Try as you might you are unable to repair the bucket with holes, while certain things may help the holey bucket it is never 100% restored to a full bucket.
In comparison, the bucket without the holes is that of a "normal" brain, a brain that is able to replenish the chemicals it losses with each bout of sadness.
This "bucket" lacks nothing.
However the bucket with holes continues to feel empty (for analogy purposes) and try as it might it is unable replenish itself.
The depressed brain is similar to a bucket with holes.
The depressed brain has all the capabilities of the "normal" brain but is unable to recover as easily as the "normal" brain.
The depressed brain needs help to heal it's "holes".
There is a Light at the End of the Tunnel
Regardless of how sad or depressed you are there is hope. There are many tools available to the persons suffering from depression. Tools that range from medication and therapy to a combination of both depending on one's personal journey with depression. Rest assured life will not always look as "gloomy" and things WILL get better. It's time to start "healing the holes"!
You can visit the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) website and find a good amount of information on how to find a Dr. or who to contact in case of an emergency. While your there "poke" around and see if you can't relate to the website in one way or another. If nothing else get a sense of community and lose the sense of being "alone" in a depressed brain. Well Wishes!
©Rebecca Fiskaali-Fordin 2012
All Text Rights Reserved
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