I want to do more to help, so I’m doing one thing I know how to do, which is write what I know. The next few posts Im going to try to write about different mental health problems in hopes to educate the little that I do know, and hopefully will lead to other people learning more about the topics too.
For the purpose of being concise, and really honing in on the worst of depression, Im going to talk about what typically might occur when someone has major depressive disorder.
Major depressive disorder is a mood disorder that affects about 6.8 percent of adults in any given year. Episodes can last for a few weeks to much longer. It can affect a person’s ability to work, perform typical daily activities, and disrupt their social relationships.
Major depressive disorder’s median age on onset is 32 years old.
Once a person has an onset of depression, it can likely reoccur.
Clinically, 1 of the 2 symptoms below will occur, lasting for at least two weeks:
Unusually sad mood
Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that one would usually find enjoyable
Lack of energy
Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
Difficulty making decisions
Agitation or difficulty feeling settled
Sleeping too much or not enough
Changes in eating habits, weight loss or weight gain
Not all of these will take place with everyone in the same way.
Symptoms can affect cognition, emotional regulation, social systems, and physical well being.
Some people who are depressed can hide it well.
Some people cannot hide it at all.
Depression doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if you are famous, if you have a family, how many things you own, what kind of car you drive, and I don’t even think it gives a shit what race you are. Depression is a human disorder. And without treatment, some people will choose suicide to end the illness.
Don’t tell someone who is depressed to get over it. Don’t tell them to stop being lazy. Please stop commenting on someone’s weight loss unless you know for sure they were working at that. These are not helpful. They do not provide support that can help someone recovery from this disorder.
Get to know people and make them feel heard and seen so they know that they matter. Be a light. Tell them you love them, hold them if they need to cry, dont judge them if they’re vulnerable, love each other, really listen to what someone is saying and don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Help your friend get professional help. Practice thoughtful compassion in your words and actions.
When my onset happened, no one saved me. I had to do so much of the work myself. I was the problem and the answer to what I was going through. But the real people who stayed, listened, helped, tried to understand, made me feel loved unconditionally, laughed with me, healed alongside of me… those people made a difference that I could not have done myself. Support from other humans is key in every day life, but also crucial in recovering from depression.
If you are reading this, and know those symptoms all too well, my soul is with you. There’s something you and I both understand even if we didn’t invite that lesson into our lives. “Your wound is probably not your fault but healing is your responsibility”. Depression is a beast. No one asks for it and yet, many of us face it as a barrier to a life worth living. Fight that beast with therapy, of any kind, that allows you to process, learn, and heal. Find courage to talk about it. If the stigma ends, I think it has to start with those of us who hold this illness in our minds with a confidence of knowing we have the weapons to fight it.
I recognize that all of this is much easier said than done. In depression, breathing feels like too much sometimes. But I know that humans are strong, capable, resilient beings and I am hopeful.
Thanks for reading! Love and light xxx
All of this information (minus my own personal thought I’ve added) can be found here: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/
Mental Health First Aid is a course that you can take publicly (or organize for a group you belong to), that educations the public on mental health issues. My only affiliation with them is that I’ve taken their course (a few years ago), learned a lot, and want to continue to inform others about mental health.