There are likely more than ten things people with depression want you to know. The stigmas surrounding depression and mental illness still exist but are far less than they were a few years ago.
Below are some facts about depression that can help all of us break down the stigmas even further.
People with Depression Are Strong
Those experiencing depression are sometimes seen as weak by people who don’t truly understand the mental illness. Depression does not equal weakness in any way. In fact, those with depression show strength when, despite feeling down, they continue working and caring for their families.
Most people with depressive symptoms are constantly overcoming their symptoms to meet the demands of life.
Many Types of People Have Depression
A misconception is that depression affects adult women. However, men experience depression.
According to the American Psychological Association, nine percent of men in the United States reported having depressive symptoms. Of that nine percent, one in three has taken medications to ease the symptoms.
Depression is the most common mental health issue among teens. Teen Help reports close to 3 million teenagers suffer from at least one major depressive episode a year. Furthermore, between 20 and 40 percent of the teen population will have multiple episodes.
Even the Rich and Famous Get Depressed
Intelligence, fortune, and fame (or lack thereof) have nothing to do with who gets depressed and who doesn’t. Some of the most educated people have reported signs of depression.
Presidents such as Abraham Lincoln reportedly had depressive symptoms. He was said to have a melancholy outlook which could have been due to many factors including the loss of a son, stress and worry about the events of the civil war or a generalized depressive disorder.
Even celebrities and wealthy investors and business men and women report having depressive episodes. No matter what the socioeconomic status, depression does not discriminate and can be found at all levels.
Depression Doesn’t Only Happen After Trauma
Many believe that depression only takes place after a trauma such as losing a loved one, battling cancer, being abused or in an accident. While depression is associated with each of these traumas, this is not the only time depression appears.
Depression can be triggered by many events or no event at all. Sometimes the reason for depression is an imbalance of chemicals such as serotonin in the brain. The brains of depressed and nondepressed have been imaged and compared. Researchers have found a significant difference in the amount of activity in those suffering from depression and those who are not.
Depression is Not Inherited
You may be carrying the gene for depression that was passed down to you from your parents. But just having the gene does not mean you will get depression. Many people carry the gene all their lives and never experience the symptoms.
Siblings have been examined in which both carried the gene. One sibling struggled with major depression for many years while the other never experienced depressive episodes. The reason can be anything from diet, lifestyle and traumatic happenings encountered or not encountered by the siblings.
Medication is Not the Only Answer
Medication is a way to control the symptoms of depression. Psychiatrists are experts that know which medicines work best according to your symptoms. Good Psychiatrists will also offer you alternative activities to supplement your medicinal routine.
Alternative therapies include yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, exercise and even watching comedies to inject laughter into your daily routine. All these therapies have proven to offer relief from depressive symptoms.
Sadness Is Different Than Depression
Sadness is felt by everyone at one point or another. We get disappointed in others, in our work, and when our dreams are not immediately met. Sadness is short-lived. We pick ourselves up quickly and continue trying to reach our potential.
There is a difference between sadness and depression.
Depression lingers. You may find yourself crying for no apparent reason. You may have a lack of appetite or an increase in appetite. You feel like you want to isolate from friends and family. In fact, you may even find yourself wanting to stay in bed all day, just wanting the day to pass by quickly, hoping that knot in your stomach fades soon.
These are serious signs of depression and need to be addressed with a mental health professional.
Some People Get Depressed in the Winter Only
Fall is a wonderful time of year. Everyone is excited to see the leaves on the trees change colors and the cool days and nights are perfect for entertaining. And of course, it is football season. Soon after the fall ends and the days get shorter, some people start to notice a change in their mood.
The longer days with more sunlight gave you a lot of Vitamin D, a nutrient associated with improving mental health. When winter arrives, the longer nights are giving you less opportunity to get the Vitamin D you need. For many, this adjustment is difficult and the brain does not adapt well.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is the name for this disorder. It can easily be treated by working with a mental health counselor. Through cognitive behavioral therapy and simply increasing your Vitamin D intake through supplements, you can see an improvement throughout the winter months.
People with Depression Can Be Happy
Just because someone has depression, it does not mean they can’t be happy. It just takes a little extra work. Working with a counselor, taking vitamins and anti-depressants when necessary can improve anyone’s mood within a brief period.
Depression is Common
Millions of people are suffering from a mental illness like depression.
Most likely, many people within your professional and personal circles are dealing with depression and you don’t even know it. This is because they are making the efforts to overcome the symptoms using a treatment plan set forth for them by a trained mental health professional.
Depression is common. Depression is conquerable. That is what people with depression want you to know.