We all have bad days sometimes. You spill coffee on your favorite blouse, traffic makes you late for work, and a bird uses your windshield as a restroom. It’s normal to be annoyed or upset when your day gets derailed. But what if you have more bad days than not, for an extended period of time? Could it be that depression is to blame?
Depression, goes by many names, but it’s formal moniker is Major Depressive Disorder. In order to be diagnosable, symptoms must last at least two weeks, and may include:
- Difference in appetite
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Impaired concentration
- Thoughts of suicide or death
It is estimated that 6.7% of American adults over the age of 18 suffer from depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This translates to millions of people, and yet, there is still a great deal of misinformation about this disease. So, in the spirit of informing, here are four essential things to know about depression.
Depression Is Real
Just like diabetes or heart-disease, depression is a true illness, complete with physiological changes in the brain. Telling yourself to “snap out of it,” is not only unhelpful, but it’s also impossible. That being said, there are things that can be done to alleviate depression, and those things actually work; which brings us to our next point.
Depression Is Treatable
There are many forms of treatment available, and studies have shown that a combination of medication and psychotherapy form the best defense against this disease. Medication helps with stabilizing neurotransmitters in the brain, while psychotherapy helps to break-down negative thought patterns and build coping skills. When used together, these two techniques are a very powerful antidote to depression.
Depression Is Not The Same As Sadness
Sadness is a normal human emotion. We feel sad when our feelings get hurt, or when we hear of an animal that was trapped in a storm drain. We may even feel extreme sadness when someone that we love dies. But sadness is not a disease. Sadness is a feeling that leads us to healing. All of our feelings are important, even the ones that are unpleasant, and what we find is that if we let them play out, we feel better once they have passed. Depression, on the other hand, needs to be treated in order for it to retreat into it’s dark little cave.
Depression Talks But You Don’t Have To Listen
People who suffer from depression sometimes describe it as living beneath a dark cloud, above a bed of nails, or, like a cancer of the soul. One of the techniques that clients learn in therapy is the ability to decipher when the depression, (as opposed to the person), is talking. For example, depression usually says things like, “You will never be good enough,” and “You may as well give up.” When clients learn to identify the voice of depression, they can then decide to tune him out, like the sham that he is.
If you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, contact us. We are here to help.