Depression can feel isolating, lonely, and downright frustrating at times. It can feel like you’re the only human in a world of nearly 8 billion people suffering from it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The thing is, depression loves to distort your reality this way. It lies to its victims. And it gets away with it. This is especially so if you feel unable to talk it out with anyone (a reality for many sufferers).
Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. It affects one in 15 adults every day, with women being more at risk. Some studies suggest a whopping one-third of women will experience it at least once in their lives. The unnecessary stigma behind it (and mental illness in general) has fortunately reduced over time; however, it can still rear its ugly head from time to time in today’s society. Education, spreading awareness, and opening up the conversation will continue to help unravel this stigma. So, let’s get unwinding.
What is depression exactly? Let’s break it down. A major depressive disorder is more than just feeling sad every now and then. It’s more than just a few blah, crummy days. It changes how you think, which ultimately changes how you show up in your everyday life and the world around you. It shows up in relationships, at work, and at home. It’s a serious mental health condition that inhibits normal daily functioning for its sufferers. It can have a profound and devastating impact on an individual, and their loved ones as well.
Depression doesn’t discriminate. Individuals of all backgrounds may be at risk. Some may experience just one episode in their lifetime and some may have recurring episodes. These may last a few months or they may last several years. Fortunately, if detected early, the time can be reduced, and freedom is imminent with the help of a health professional.
Symptoms & Risk Factors
Symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but there are common ones to be on the lookout for:
- Changes in sleep and appetite
- Either the inability to sleep or eat or sleeping and eating excessively
- A lack of concentration, energy, or loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, physical aches and pains, and even suicidal thoughts
A diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder means one must experience symptoms for at least two weeks. It can come on spontaneously or it can be triggered by changes in both small or big life events. Again, it doesn’t discriminate.
It’s also important to understand and acknowledge the differences between depression and grief. They are not one and the same, but they also may coexist. Grief is a natural process and it shares some of the same characteristics. For example, in grief, painful moments come in waves, intertwined with positive memories, and self-esteem is maintained. In depression, positive feelings are rare and self-esteem typically declines. Deciphering these differences will help lead you in the direction of proper help. Some factors that may contribute to the onset of depression include trauma, genetics, certain life changes and circumstances, changes in brain structure, substance abuse, and certain medical conditions such as chronic pain, thyroid issues, or vitamin deficiencies. Being aware of these symptoms and factors plays a key role in determining whether you or a loved one should seek help.
While curing or alleviating depression may feel incredibly overwhelming and hopeless, various treatments have proven to be successful. These include cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, antidepressants, exercise, brain stimulation therapies such as TMS, light therapy, acupuncture, meditation, faith/spirituality, and proper nutrition. Sometimes just one of these methods used to treat depression may be enough and sometimes a combination of a few or all are necessary.
We are all beautifully unique, so one size does not necessarily fit all. Trial and error may be common but keeping at it and refusing to give up will guarantee a brighter future. People with depression are not alone in this battle. Initially opening up may be the most difficult part of the process, but in doing so, you will find that others are either eager to help or have struggled as well. As uncomfortable as it may be to reach out, suffering alone does not have to be your reality. There is always a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
TMS Institute of Great Plains Mental Health
Paula Whittle, PMHNP, and Dr. James Sorrell believe that mental health should be considered as a primary driver for one’s overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally. At TMS Institute of GPMH, we want to make sure your connection to the world you live in is addressed – to change the order to … SPIRIT, MIND, and BODY. As a result, we believe when people are treated in this order they feel better, more at peace, and much stronger to face life’s challenges. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS therapy), the most advanced form of depression treatment, offers us the ability to enhance our patient outcomes following our philosophy of a holistic approach to treating mental health conditions.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.