Depression can hit anyone. No one is free from its grasps. It is estimated that about 50 million people a year are diagnosed with depression. That number strictly counts those who have sought help and not those suffering in silence.
Signs of Depression
Generally, Depression is a loss of interest in one’s usual activities or routine and a gloomy or “flat affect.” Other characteristics include:
- Sleep problems – disturbance in sleep, difficulty falling to sleep, the amount of sleep and changes in patterns of sleep.
- Hopeless – bleak and despairing.
- Lack of Energy/ Interest – tired and fatigue for no reason other than “feeling that way,” no longer interested in hobbies or other activities that used to bring enjoyment.
- Withdrawn – noticeably lower level of participation in various social activities, irritable, cranky, quick to anger, blaming others, easily annoyed and overly sensitive.
- Eating – changes in diet eating more or less than usual.
If you are depressed there are things you can do:
- Exercise – Endorphins! We all remember that line from Legally Blonde, when Reese Witherspoon character states, “exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy, and happy just don’t shoot their husbands.” Well it’s true. Exercise releases endorphins, a neurotransmitter that creates the sensation of being happy or creates a sense of wellbeing.
- Plan something to look forward to – Special coffee dates, trips to the craft stores or bookstore etc.
- Uplifting/positive music – no depressing, melancholic music! Put something on that make you want to dance or sing along with at the top of your lungs.
- Don’t isolate, be social – don’t keep yourself locked up in your room or house. Get out, meet people!
- Eliminate negative self-talk – don’t keep repeating negative things over in your head (e.g. how could anyone love me _or you’re so stupid_). You need to stop that! For every negative thing that comes through your mind find two positive things about yourself. I guarantee those negative things are not true. If you are depressed and it is affecting your everyday life, work, family or daily routine, I recommend you seek counseling, especially if you or a loved one has been feeling depressed for over two weeks.
A history of mental illness, substance abuse or trauma increase the chances of suicide. Keep in mind that depression is different for everyone.
Along with depression be aware of signs or feelings of suicide. Eight out of every ten suicidal people show some kind of warning sign:
- Suicide threats, direct or indirect
- Poems, essays and drawings referring to death
- Dramatic changes in personality, appearance and hygiene
- Irrational/bizarre behavior
- Overwhelming feelings of guilt, shame or reflection
- Change in sleeping or eating behaviors
- Severe drop in school performance
- Giving away belongings If you are threatening or contemplating suicide please dial 911 or call the suicide hot line 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). Take the time to call because you are worth it and no matter what you think you are making a difference.