Do you fear that you may be developing depression? You are not sure, but do you feel scared even to ask? Do you fear that you may be labeled “crazy” or forced to take medication if you seek help?
You are not alone. One in five people suffer from depression at some point in their lives, and many people don’t recognize it. Many people don’t seek help in earlier stages when simple talk therapy and mind training can help them prevent depression from becoming severe. Some people even resist when they develop severe depression even though so many medications and non-medication treatments, like TMS, are now available. My heart aches to see people suffering needlessly when so much of that suffering could be prevented.
Depression is a complex illness that can be caused by many different reasons. Some of which are not in your control but others are, including how you manage your stress and train your mind. For that purpose, I have written a whole book; “Stress to Joy” that you will be able to read soon at http://www.stresstojoy.com. But for today, I want to help you differentiate stress from clinical depression and share some resources as part of the blog series for depression awareness month.
Let’s learn these differences through the story of Roxanne. She is a 35 yr old mother of 3 kids. She works full time and juggles between responsibilities. She used to feel sad on and off when she faced a big stressor, like an issue in her relationships, a conflict at work, and problems with money. Most of the time it used to be short living, and she was able to feel happy within a few hours. The short periods of depressed mood were her stress reactivity symptoms and not a depressive disorder.
More recently, she started noting that she was not able to stop feeling depressed for more than two weeks. She was crying easy and was not able to enjoy time with her kids or other activities that used to give her joy. Her sleep and appetite were affected, and she was not able to think and concentrate as before; which was affecting her work. She started feeling guilty and worthless, and sometimes she started questioning life or wishing for death. Her stress reactivity had changed into depressive disorder. She did not recognize for some time until a friend sent her a video link from World Health Organization ( WHO)’s “Depression: let’s talk”
campaign. She had tears in her eyes as she could see herself in this video; I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression by writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone on the
signs and effects of depression.
She answered these nine questions from a clinically verified depression screening tool PHQ9
She saw that she had met 5 out of the nine criteria for more than two weeks at least some of the days. She realized that she might have developed mild depression. Although these symptoms were not present all the time, she did
not want to allow them to get worse. She wanted to do everything in her power
to prevent further suffering but was afraid how her friends, family, or
co-workers would react if they found that she was seeking help. She was going
back and forth about seeking help when she came across a tweet about a woman’s email asking for a mental health day off that was going viral;
It inspired her to take care of her mental health because she realized that if she took take of herself, she would be able to take better care of her kids, family, and work. She was able to find a great psychotherapist who helped her come out of depression. She did not even need any medications. She started enjoying life again; playing with her kids, listening to music and being productive at her work.
She feels so grateful for being able to overcome her depression and prevent it from getting worse; she continues to work on her mental resilience and shares her learning and resources with her friends and family. She shares the five signs of mental illness she learned from the Campaign to Change Direction that encourages all Americans to pay attention to their emotional well-being and reminds that emotional well-being is just as important as physical well-being. She has also joined the local chapter of NAMI ( National Alliance for Mental Health)
Like Roxanne, you can also choose to help yourself and the people you care about. If you see any signs of clinical depression, you can take steps to get better and prevent the depression from getting worse as she did.
For your ease, let me summarize the steps here:
Manage your stress before it manages you. Many resources are
available including www.stresstojoy.com
If you don’t take care of your early symptoms of depression, it will not only cause increased suffering but can also cost you loss of your job, your relationships, and possibly your life. Your happiness and your life are more important than what other’s may think about you seeking help. If you do take care of your mental health, you will be able to save your life and prevent suffering for yourself and your loved ones.
The above blog is part of series on Depression. You can read other blogs by visiting https://drrozina.com/blog/
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Was this blog helpful? Will it help you if you think you are experiencing depression yourself? Through these blogs, courses, and books, I want to help you achieve optimum level of health and happiness. Please let me know about any other topics you would like me to write for you so you could be the best version of yourself. You can also help other readers by sharing your thoughts and insights in the comment box below. Comments will appear after moderator review, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
To your health happiness.
The tools and techniques I teach have proven to be highly successful for improving emotional, mental and physical balance, but they are not intended to replace treatments prescribed by licensed medical or health professionals.