Everybody has "the blues" or "feels down" from time to time. It's normal
to feel sad for short periods, especially if something bad had happened in our
lives. But those of us who suffer from depression have much more than "the
blues", and our feelings can last for a long time.
There are many sufferers of this illness.
But family and friends who've never experienced true depression can have
trouble understanding what it's like. Many people find it difficult to think of
depression as an illness because their are no obvious physical symptoms. But
depression is an illness, which is caused by chemical changes in the brain. Few
people think that a physical illness is the sufferer's fault-and no one should
think depression is, either.
Like any other illness, depression has certain symptoms. Once these have
been recognized, you can take measures to treat them. Some are: feeling sad,
worried or depressed; feeling as if your life is dreary and unlikely to improve;
had crying spells; become irritated over little things that didn't used to
bother you; find you no longer enjoy hobbies and activities that once made you
happy; feel a lack of self-confidence or feeling like a failure; lost your
appetite, or are eating more than usual; have had trouble sleeping, or been
sleeping too much; had trouble concentrating and making decisions; and thought
about death and/or suicide.
Knowing the causes for depression can help depressed people, friends,
family understand how painful it is and why it's not possible to "snap out of
it". It's still not completely clear why depression happens to some of us and
not to others, but their are some triggers: stressful events or a loss, physical
illness, hormone levels, and use of certain medications, drugs, or alcohol.
Most of us think sadness when we think of depression, but there are
other physical, emotional, and mental effects, too. Many depressed people feel
helpless, and as if this is the way that they are going to feel forever. They
have a lack of energy and a lack of interest in life. It's hard for them to ever
imagine feeling happy or excited again. Some may withdraw and be less sociable.
They may also become short-tempered and difficult to please. No one can do
anything right. The world of depression is a lonely place to be.
Physical problems can also occur. Some may have trouble getting to sleep
or wake up a lot during the night. Others just want to sleep all the time. It
can also cause someone to lose his or her appetite, or want to eat all the time.
They may crave sweets, and have stomach pains, constipation, headaches, sweating,
a racing heart, or other symptoms.
But these days, there are many ways to treat depression.
That means no depressed person should suffer needlessly.
Medical care, antidepressant
medications, counselling, and the support of family and friends are all
effective in treating depression. Keep in mind that the most important step in
treating depression is SEEKING HELP.
If you are depressed, please take a few
minutes to call your doctor today, so you can start feeling better as soon as
possible. And remember... there is hope.