People get sick, are taken ill, and develop medical conditions; and this fact is simply a reality of the world we live in today, just as it has been throughout history. And when most people get sick, there is usually an outwardly visible sign or presentation associated with that ailment. For example, when a person breaks a leg, they can’t really walk without a hobble, if it all. When a person has a cold, they will usually have a running nose and when a person has the stomach flu, they will usually feel nauseous and are prone to vomiting.
While most of us are familiar with these outwardly visible signs associated with ailments, very often, these outwardly signs dictate, or at least, give us a good indication of what needs to be done in terms of treatment. Going back to our previous examples, when a person has a broken leg, most of us know that it needs to be put in a cast. When a person has a cold, we know that a decongestant and a box of tissues is often what’s best; and stomach flu requires plenty of liquids to help with dehydration and medication to reduce vomiting. And while this all seems rather straightforward – see the illness, treat the illness – what happens when the illness in question isn’t necessarily outwardly visible? What happens if you are stricken with something that antibiotics, a box of tissues and plenty of rest can’t fix?
Depression is a very real and very serious mental illness that cannot only interfere with person’s life, it can change the way they go through it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly 10 percent of adults age 40-59 had depression over a 3-year study period. And yet, despite its undeniable presence, depression can be very difficult to identify; and even worse, there is still an outdated social stigma around it.
Perhaps the most common misconception surrounding depression is that it is the same or similar to feeling sad. While sadness can often be a symptom, people with depression often feel it much more intensely than other people do. Life is filled with events that cause us to have emotions, and for most people, these emotions come and go. However, people with depression will often feel the same or intensified feelings, but the difference is, these feelings don’t go away.
Depression presents itself differently in different people, which is one of the main reasons that it can be so hard to diagnose. Despite this fact, please do not think that depression is any less real, for this reason, should not lead us to dismiss depression, rather it should encourage us to reach out to those who may be suffering in silence even more.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.” So knowing this, the next logical question is what can be done about it?
As we mentioned earlier, depression can take many forms in different people, and for this reason, there isn’t just one solution. However, there are many tried and tested practices that can help an individual to work through their depression and try and mitigate its impact on their lives.
If you or someone you know is battling depression, it is important for them to know they are not alone, although it likely feels that way to them. There is support and help available, and in the meantime, we encourage you to try and institute these practices in your life. Remember, depression doesn’t need to dictate your life, and hopefully, with some help, it won’t.
While not always the case, it isn’t uncommon for people with depression to fall so deeply into the grips of their condition that they can’t see a way out or a reason to keep living. Sad yes, but we would be doing a disservice if we didn’t address it.
Nobody should ever tell a person who is depressed that they completely understand what they are going through, because if the most decorated professionals can’t do that. Depression is personal, and thus, can be very difficult to relate to others. However, there are others out there to support you. Friends, family and trained professionals who would like nothing more than to help you overcome this ultimately unfair hand that you have been dealt.
The tips and practices contained in this article have proven effective for countless individuals who have not only been diagnosed with depression but have chosen to not go quietly into the night and actively combat it. However, we will admit, sometimes these methods are not enough and the only way to truly find relief is by contacting a professional. We understand that this can be difficult and not an ideal outcome, but by viewing your depression like any other ailment in which we require a doctor, there is no shame in reaching out for help. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please contact your healthcare professional. They may personally not be able to provide you with the care you need, but they most certainly can point you in the right direction and refer you to someone who can. Please remember, you are not alone.