Yup, that’s right. This weeks topic is a little more deep than usual. Why you ask would HowtobeSocial cover depression? Because it’s real and affects everyone, even me. In order to be truly social and be our best selves, we have to be able to learn our weakness and turn them into strengths.
I would like to state some facts before we begin.
Depression is not a joke.
Some Americans will scoff at depression being a mental illness and even say it doesn’t exist but it is real and it can affect anyone. The reason for this blatant disregard of the truth is that depression did not affect our parents and grandparents like it does our generation and future ones. That is not to say that before us NO ONE EVER was depressed. It just means that today it happens far more often or is reported more.
Infographic found at Healthline.com
One in four will have some sort of mental illness in a year and one in five become depressed at some point. There are many reasons for that but to sum it all up into one statement, it is because our environment that we live in has radically changed. Before we get into that and how to deal with your depression we should discuss the different types of depression.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
- Major Depression: (aka unipolar or major depressive disorder) Seven percent of the population has this type of depression and it has to last longer than two weeks for it to be categorized as such.
- Negative thinking with inability to see positive solutions
- Inability to focus
- Lashing out at loved ones
- Withdrawing from loved ones and regular activities
- Increase in sleeping
- Exhaustion and lethargy
- Morbid, suicidal thoughts
- Weight loss or gain
Infographic found psycom.net
- Dysthymia: (aka Persistent Depressive Disorder) This illness affects two percent of our population and is more of a long-term depression, it is similar to major depression but it is not as severe.
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Low energy or fatigue
- Low self-esteem, self-criticism, or feeling incapable
- Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Decreased activity and/or productivity
- Social isolation
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or feeling down
- Feelings of guilt
- In children, depressed mood and irritability are often primary symptoms.
- Post-Partum Depression: (PPD) This type of depression seems to have the most effect on new mothers. While some mothers will go through what scientists called “baby blues” this is different because PPD tends to last longer. PPD can be particularly dangerous because it is often not talked about because mothers think there is something wrong with them because they think they are supposed to be experiencing joy and happiness before and after childbirth. The change in hormones and body functions can be a cause of this depression.
- Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or more
- Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
- A loss of interest in activities (including sex)
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Feeling tired most of the day
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks or racing thoughts
- Seasonal Affective disorder: (SAD) The person who experiences this type of depression starts to develop symptoms around the holidays (aka this time of year.) Life naturally becomes more dreary with shorter days and this depression is actually just a subtype of major depression and can be just as detrimental to your mental health.
- Heaviness in arms and legs
- Frequent oversleeping
- Cravings for carbohydrates/weight gain
- Relationship problems
- Atypical Depression: This is anything but the name suggests. Atypical depression happens every day and can affect a persons enjoyment of everyday life. Women are two times more likely to experience this type of depression according to the American Psychiatric Association.
- Mood improvement due to positive events or good news
- At least two of the following:
- Increased appetite or significant weight gain
- Hypersomnia (usually more than 10 hours a day)
- Leaden paralysis (i.e., heavy limb sensation, lasting more than an hour per day)
- Interpersonal rejection sensitivity, leading to social or occupational impairment
- Psychotic Depression: Usually this is a more extreme version of depression causing hallucinations and begins with another untreated form of depression. This can also lead to a catatonic state which is referred to catatonia, a syndrome characterized by muscular rigidity and mental stupor. (In layman’s terms, you are a potato.)
- Delusions: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is
- Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
- Bipolar Disorder: A mixture of high and low moods. Mania is that high that people experience. They will have high energy, elevated mood, and they feel as though they don’t need sleep. This high is exactly what would be deemed as “too much of a good thing” because after using all that energy you crash – you hit a low. The low is the other half of bipolar disorder and is when you have low energy and feel hopeless. Bipolar disorder is more common than you think, with more than 3 million cases in the U.S. a year.
- Feel very “up,” “high,” or elated
- Have a lot of energy
- Have increased activity levels
- Feel “jumpy” or “wired”
- Have trouble sleeping
- Become more active than usual
- Talk really fast about a lot of different things
- Be agitated, irritable, or “touchy”
- Feel like their thoughts are going very fast
- Think they can do a lot of things at once
- Do risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex
- Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless
- Have very little energy
- Have decreased activity levels
- Have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much
- Feel like they can’t enjoy anything
- Feel worried and empty
- Have trouble concentrating
- Forget things a lot
- Eat too much or too little
- Feel tired or “slowed down”
- Think about death or suicide
- Situational Depression: This depression is very common and often triggered by a traumatic event. A death in the family or close loved ones, a loss of job, or even school stress are all triggers for this type of depression. This can lead to other types of depression if not treated but usually only lasts for a small period of time.
- Feeling nervous
- Having body symptoms such as a headache, stomachache, or heart palpitations
- Missing work, school, or social activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Feeling tired
- Abusing alcohol or drugs
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: (PMDD) Fairly new there is an argument over whether this is a depression state or just PMS. There is a huge difference between regular PMS and PMDD symptoms though. Doctors at this time are unaware of these causes of PMDD but they speculate that it has to do with an increase change in hormone levels during a cycle.
- Mood swings
- Depression or feelings of hopelessness
- Intense anger and conflict with other people
- Tension, anxiety, and irritability
- Decreased interest in usual activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in appetite
- Feeling out of control
- Sleep problems
- Cramps and bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Joint or muscle pain
- Hot flashes
Infographic found Dailyinfographic.com
WAYS TO DEAL WITH DEPRESSION
Now that we know a little more about what we are dealing with let’s talk about ways you can deal with mental illness.
If you are worried about doctors bills and how to pay for the help you need there are ways to beat depression without the pills, (personally I advocate everyone try this first.)
Below you will find some great tips on how to boost your natural hormones and chemicals in your brain to get you going again! Just getting outside for ten minutes a day is proven to help you reset your circadian system and help you sleep better at night which helps battle depression.
I understand that this might not work well for everyone though so keep on reading for more.
If you find yourself trying these methods and not getting them to work then it is time to go to a doctor. You are not alone. Almost everyone goes through some form of depression in their lifetime.
I know I just gave you a lot to go through but this is important because even if you don’t show symptoms of depression maybe your friend is. Please, talk about it. No one is benefiting by keeping the conversation silent.