When it comes to depression the first thing I want people to know is that it is not just feeling a little blue for a day. Depression is serious condition that the CDC reports affects 10% of adults in the US every year and costs American employers 16 Billion dollars every year in lost work production.
The word depression gets thrown around when a person appears a little sad or others don’t know how to interpret the behaviors they see. Depression is actually a combination of a number of symptoms which for the most part lasted at least 2 weeks. There are two symptoms that are common in depression diagnoses. For a person to be diagnosed with depression they must either have
Little interest or pleasure in doing things- including the things that they have or generally enjoyed participating in
Feeling down, depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness.
In addition to one of these two people with depression also experience difficulty sleeping, lack of energy or tired feeling, feeling bad about themselves, trouble concentrating, doing thing (including moving or speaking) noticeably slower or are more fidgety and restless than, have thoughts of hurting themselves or think they’d be better off dead. –People who are clinically depressed would most likely have at least 5 of these symptoms.
Depression is often referred to as anger that is directed inwards. There is frequently an event that preceded the onset of depression. Something that occurred which brought on the feelings of sadness or anger that have grown over time. It’s that feeling of seeing something happening a feeling powerless to change it. It’s not that the person really does is powerless to effect, rather it is the feeling or perception of it being so.
Depression is progressive- What can start as a few days of the blues can progress into something more severe if it goes unaddressed for too long. If you notice yourself or someone you know having some of these symptoms- start early to figure out what is causing them and devise a plan for addressing it. Anyone can get a couple days of the gloomies, but depression is an opportunistic illness. When it is given the chance to grow and take over, it will. That’s how felling a little sad over an important loss can turn into months of self blaming depression. The moment you notice it, start tackling.
Depression can happen to anyone and more importantly it can be resolved. It’s not something that happens to certain people, it’s something that happens to any person. Yes, people can take steps to increase resilience and better develop their coping skills to reduce the risk of falling into a full blown diagnosable depression. In order to do that, that has to first be the acknowledgement that depression exists and no one is immune. A history of depressive diagnoses in the immediate family does add an increased susceptibility. What this really means is that you need to be more vigilant and focus strengthening and utilizing your coping skills.
Depression has no real demographic criteria. Everyone is fair game. That’s why we should all check our selves when we notice symptoms and not mislead ourselves in thinking that we’re not the type of people who get this.