As a mental health therapist, I treat many people who have depression. Complaints I hear most frequently are connected to other people's reaction to depression. My client might say,
It really bothers me when people say, "why are you depressed? You need to just pray more!"
"Are you really depressed? Stop laying around looking down and out. You are affecting my mood and my peace of mind."A despondent client
Depression is a debilitating mental illness that can gravely impact someone's ability to live a normal day to day life.
It is hard to understand that depression makes people think, act and feel in ways that seem abnormal. It is even irritating to someone else who is functioning without these challenges.
When I first started to practice mental health counseling, friends would ask me if depression was real. They'd say,
Can someone actually stay in bed all day, every day because they don't feel like doing anything?Something I'm often asked by people without depression.
My answer was and is still, yes.
Picture someone who feels deep intense sadness and describes the feeling as being surrounded by darkness. As if they are covered in a dark cloud without being able to find their way out. How about a dark image that follows them around night and day. Waking up in the middle of the night with chills running through their bodies. Never leaving home - with windows tightly shut and the curtains drawn every day of the week.
It's as if they are suffocated by a dark cloud unable to breathe.
I hope that after you read my blog post about depression symptoms, you'll be more understanding of your sister, son, friend, coworker or spouse who is in torment and just going through life's motions.
Depression manifests in different ways in different people. The emotional intensity varies from mild, to moderate to severe. The symptoms vary and the episodes vary. The point I am trying to make is that there are different levels of depression.
Clinical depression and mood disorders can be severe or they can be mild. No matter what kind of depression you have, whether mild, moderate or severe, it will cause you to exhibit damaging behavior patterns.
As someone who understands the ramification of severe depression, it concerns me when people say,
How could he have taken his own life. That's selfish. He didn't think about how his family would feel. Why would he make such a definite decision to leave everything behind.While interacting with random strangers.
Those statements have been mentioned while talking specifically about Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
In my counseling room, clients express how important it is for their families and loved ones to support them through depressive episodes.
They feel alone with their families, with friends and with strangers. They feel isolated from the rest of the world. They feel as though they are in this battle with no hope nor help insight.
The entire family unit also experiences agony as a result of their loved ones fight with depression. However, the families' hurt are conveyed and demonstrated in distinct ways.
There are times when clients think their families don't understand or don't care about what they are going through.
It's for this reason, I help families understand the state of minds of chronically depressed people. Families can learn to navigate through this excruciating ordeal by applying useful techniques in the home.
How they, the family can be a solid rock and foundation for depressed people. Their love, care and nurture is fundamental and a huge restorative factor.
I also gently explain to my clients that psychoeducation can be very helpful in allowing families, loved ones, and friends see the necessary warning signs of suicidal ideation.
According to the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, suicide is a serious public health problem that causes immeasurable pain, suffering, and loss to individuals, families and communities nationwide.
Many people may be surprised to learn that suicide was one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States in 2017.
Yet suicidal behaviors often continue to be met with shame and silence. How devastating.
Most of us feel depressed from time to time. The questions we need to ask ourselves are these. Am I experiencing any of the symptoms presented below? How many of these symptoms can I relate to? How often are these symptoms? How intense are these symptoms? How long are these symptoms?
As I wrote this blog post, I thought of an easy diagram I could create to demonstrate many kinds of circumstances in our lives that can cause depression. Can you relate to any?
During a 2-week period do you, or someone you know:-
When you are burdened with adversity, it may be difficult to figure out what you're feeling. You may be unsure if your symptoms are mild, moderate or severe! Let's get to the sigh of relief moment…
You may feel helpless and hopeless. But remember, depression is a treatable condition. Help me to help you.