Major Depression, I suffer...Do you?
Depression can make you think that the smallest thing is the end of the world and nothing will ever be right. It can make you think you are a nothing, no body and have nothing good to bring to this life. It can make you feel like you are not worthy of love or good enough to be a mother, father, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, sister, friend, employee, neighbor or even just a human being. Worthless. It can make you think that you shouldn't be around anyone, maybe it'd be better if you just died so everyone could be better off without you. I have felt all these feeling and then some, I cannot explain the inner battle I have every day when sadness over comes me, and hearing my children's laughter in the same instant. It's a war you want to win, but seems impossible.
Major Depression or Clinical Depression is the constant state of despair and hopelessness. It’s something I have had since I was a child and wasn't diagnosed with until I was 18. With the help of medication I can live a normal happy life, and no, I am not ashamed to admit that.
Major Depression can make it difficult to concentrate on work or school; you may lose interest in people and things you used to love to do. It can make it difficult to sleep or eat because you feel sad most of the day. Everyone experiences sadness at one point or another, like after being laid-off from a job or with the loss of a loved one. However, if no life changing event has happened recently and you have these symptoms for at least two weeks, you should seek a professional opinion to see if you may have Major Depression.
Clinical Depression affects as little 6.7% of adult Americans. It can affect the elderly, teenagers and kids but often goes undiagnosed. Women are twice as likely to develop Major Depression, mostly because men are less likely to talk about what they are experiencing. The risk for women may increase due to hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, miscarriage, and menopause. Other risk factors are increased stress due to home or work environments, balancing life and work, caring for an elderly loved one or being a single mother.
Having any form of depression is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Depression will weigh you down until you feel like the world is resting on your shoulders. Getting help is the most important thing for you and your family.
Loss of interest in things you love
Loss of Appetite
My 6 year old step-son told me he wanted to color after dinner one night. I pulled out the construction paper and he said "I want yellow please, I want to draw you a smiley face". I handed him a piece of yellow paper and some "encouragement" stickers with cows on them and went to do the dishes while he worked on his masterpiece. When I came back this was the result:
He had drawn a smiley face on one side with some of the stickers I gave him and a skull on the other. He held it up to show me the smiley face and said in a serious tone, "Jesse, whenever you get sad I want you to look at the smiley face side, so it will make you happy," he said with authority, "and whenever you get mad you can look at the skull side, because it's angry." I told him he did a wonderful job and to go hang it on the refrigerator. He replied with "No, I want to put in on your desk so you can look at it everyday." So I pinned it up on my desk, and I do look at it everyday.
None of my children know what depression is, nor do they know I have it. I try my best to keep my dark monsters away from them and although it's difficult at times, I don't ever want them to see me like that. When he drew this he could not have possibly known how I would interpret his drawing or the effect it had on me.
My Interpretation of the Smiley Face: "When you are sad I want you to look at the smiley face." I have taken this to mean "When you are sad, think of happy things". With the encouragement stickers, (really meant for children in school who do good on their spelling tests) gives me confidence to say "Yes I am a good mother, spouse, sister, friend, employee, neighbor and human being. I have a lot to contribute to this world, especially in raising my children to be exactly how I think they should be raised (kind, loving, respectful, fun loving, carefree, happy, open minded, unique and individual thinkers).
My Interpretation of the Skull: "When you are mad, look at the skull face" I have taken this to mean "When you think nothing is going right and your depression has taken over, this is the effect." You can take this is a literal form, as in you may take your own life. I've chosen a different route: When you let depression take hold of your life, you feel dead inside. You feel hollow and empty, only adding to the worthlessness you already feel making it way worse.
He is a genius. No, I'm not biased, think about it. When you are depressed, the best thing to do is do something that makes you happy. He gave me something to be happy about. He drew a picture. For me. To help me smile through my tears. He loves me. He wants me to be happy. This is unconditional love in all it's purity. Everyday while writing on this site, I glance up at my smiley face, knowing that on the other side lies certain death. It helps me to remember that there are plenty of things to be happy about, and it gives me confidence in myself to be the best I can be, to show them that nothing is beyond reach.
This picture is not the solution to my depression but it helps. If you find things around the house that make you happy just by looking at them, surround yourself with them. Put them in places that are easily visible, someplace you will see then every time you walk into a room. It may be a picture of a loved one, or a souvenir from a trip you took and had a wonderful time, or in my case a drawing from a 6 year old little boy who means the world to me.