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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Depression Hurts

We all go through times of feeling down and sadness is a normal aspect of life, especially through struggles and disappointments. Many people also use the term depression very loosely, but depression is more than just feeling down and feelings of sadness.

Depression interferes with your everyday life, your ability to work, eat, and have fun. It is a feeling of helplessness or even worthlessness that is so intense, one feels as if there is no relief from the feelings.

Some signs of depression include: not sleeping enough or sleeping too much, feelings of hopelessness, loss of appetite or uncontrollable eating, or thoughts that life is not worth living-thoughts of suicide or harming oneself. Also, feelings of helplessness, weight changes, irritablity, self-loating or guilt, or unexplainable aches are also signs of depression. Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but those liste previously are some symptoms someone with depression might experience. However, that is not an all encompassing list (we would be here all day!). Again, these symptoms may be a part of your normal life and ordinary feelings of sadness, but if these feelings are stronger than you can handle or feel bigger than your normal feelings of sadness, you may be experiencing depression. When the feelings begin to feel overwhelming, you may want to find help to deal with those feelings.

Some risk factors of depression include loneliness, recent stressful life events, marital or relationship problems, childhood trauma, and unemployment, among others. Understanding where the depression comes from, will help in the treatment process.

It is also important to note that depression is a risk factor for suicide. The despair that goes along with depression may make one believe there is no way out other than suicide. Thoughts of death and suicide should always be taken seriously. Thinking or talking about suicide is not just a warning sign; it should be taken seriously in every circumstance.

First, some warning signs of suicide, and then I will get to what you should do if you or someone you know is experiencing these signs. Warning signs of suicide: talking about killing oneself, a preoccupation with death, telling others goodbye without a known reason, and statements such as, "Everyone would be better off without me." Now, if you are having thoughts of suicide, know someone who is having thoughts of suicide or exhibits any of these warning signs, please seek professional help immediately. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8225) or, locally, you can call the Crisis Center at 615-244-7444.

Depression may look different for men and women. Rates for depression among women are twice as high as for men. This is due partly to horomonal differences. As far as symptoms of depression, women experience more guilt and overeating with depression. Women may also suffer from "baby blues" and postpartum depression after giving birth to their baby, which usually occurs within 6 months of child birth.

There are many pathways to overcoming depression, especially after understanding the underlying cause to the depression. Also, what works for one person, may not work for another, so be patient in finding what works for you. I know depression can be overwhelming, but getting help for your depression can make a huge impact on your life. Here are some lifestyle changes you  can make, which may help your depression. Lifestyle changes: build a support system filled with supportive relationships, eat a healthy diet, and learn relaxation techniques. 

Seek professional help when advice from your family and friends are not helping you overcome your depression. Counseling and/or medication may be the next step to managing your depression.

I appologize for the long post, but depression is such a widespread illness, I needed to take the time to talk in detail about the subject matter. Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or need any other services. Also, leave a comment if you would like!

"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today."
Dale Carnegie

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