National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
It’s nearly impossible to watch an entire program on TV without seeing a commercial for an anti-depressant medication these days. Between the older Prozac commercials with the rain cloud that follows the animated stick figure and the question-and-answer ad for Cymbalta of “Who does depression hurt?…Everyone.”, you can barely get away with not knowing most of these ads by heart. But, the real question is, would you recognize the signs of real depression if you saw them?
Sadness is an emotion usually associated with depression, but also something that most of us have experienced in our lives. But sadness is also just that-an emotion. A set of feelings caused by a traumatic event, bad news, or upsetting experiences that bring on “the blues”. Although sad, one can also experience other emotions at the same time. You may be crying one minute, and laughing the next. It’s something that you get over, even if it takes a little time.
Depression on the other hand, goes much farther that just experiencing sadness. It’s not just something you can “get over”, and a simple pep talk won’t change things around either. With several forms of this disorder, it may be necessary to seek professional counseling from your doctor or mental healthcare provider. Never try to diagnose yourself or others. The best thing to do is get help from someone specializing in depression and be open to your options. Medication like anti-depressants may be popular and are a great cure for many people, but are not the only choice for treatment either. Since depression can affect men, women, and children of all ages, treatment should be given out accordingly. Things like yoga and exercise, changes in eating or current medications, lifestyle changes and adjustments, or a change in career are all things that can have a big impact on depression.
Having depression is nothing to be ashamed about. The stigma the men shouldn’t be depressed has since been lifted, and seeking help is something that should be commended. Self-improvement like this is in the same category as losing weight or quitting smoking- all things you do in order to become healthier and happier. Many things may trigger depression, so there isn’t just one cause. Hormonal changes, like with PMS/PMDD or after child birth (which can cause Postpartum depression) affects many women each year.
Other illnesses may co-exist with depression, too. Things like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder or having a substance or alcohol abuse problem are all usually accompanied by depression. These, and most other disorders, are all highly treatable. Luckily, finding resources for treatment is easier than ever. Ask your regular doctor for a referral to a specialist and seek help immediately if thoughts of suicide or extreme harm happen to you or someone you love. Never underestimate the power of depression can have over one’s mind. It’s never too soon to ask for help and lift that dark cloud from about your head. The sunny skies are there, and there is no shame in getting a little help with clearing out the rain.