Are You “Down in The Dumps” or is it Depression?
So the holidays are over and it is time to get back to the structure and normalcy of our weeks and you feel some “after holiday blues” setting in on your mood. Is this something that most people experience that comes and will soon leave, or is this something more concerning – not just a passing mood that will go away soon?
We all do experience times of being “down in the dumps”, blue, or sad about something that has come up in our life. It is when this mood persists that we need to pay attention as it may be more than a normal experience. You may be experiencing depression. Depression is much more common than you might realize. In fact it is so common that it is called the “common cold” of mental illness. So how do you know if this is just a “passing mood” or if it is something more serious?
Depression symptoms include more than a passing sad mood. You might find yourself just not enjoying things that once were pleasurable. Your energy level might be low with a change in sleep patterns such as insomnia or waking up early or several times throughout the night. You may experience an appetite change which may affect your weight. Concentration and focus may be more difficult or you may feel a sense of being overwhelmed or hopeless. Even digestive problems or a decreased sex drive can be indicators of depression. And in more severe depression you may be experiencing thoughts of wanting to run away, wishing you were dead or may be considering a plan to make that happen.
Depression isn’t something you want to just assume will go away. It isn’t something that you can “will” to go away or just push yourself to ”snap out of it” and hope it will go away. Depression not only impacts your mood or your motivation, but it impacts your work, home life, and relationships. Depression is a mood disorder and without treatment, the depressive symptoms can get worse – lasting days, weeks, months or even years longer than if you get treatment. This could not only cause undue suffering but also can start to affect you in a more physical way.
Physically, depression can quadruple a person’s risk of dying within 6 months after a heart attack. It weakens the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. Men recently diagnosed with depression are at double the risk of cardiovascular problems in the next five years. Sleep and appetite changes begin to take a toll on the body if depression lasts for any length of time.
And there is the question of why is this in your life? I find depression to be important in one’s life to acknowledge and pay attention when it rears its head. Although depression can result because of a chemical imbalance caused by chronic stress, it also gives you a chance to look at what the core issue is about that caused the depression in the first place. Depression is our body’s way of telling us to look at our life and figure out what we need. It is no different than a physical concern such as a high blood sugar level. We would address what treatment is needed and what life changes are needed. The same is true for treatment of depression. And if you have some depression, you can know that you aren’t alone.
Did you know that in any given year, about 13-14 million people will experience a depressive disorder and only about 20 percent will receive adequate care and treatment for it? About 16 percent of adults will experience depression at some point in their life. Women are twice as likely to experience depression with the highest frequency between ages 25 and 44. And although women are twice as likely to experience depression as men, men are three times as likely to commit suicide as women. One in seven men will develop depression within six months of becoming unemployed. Depression in women is the leading cause of disability. (www.nmha.org)
Depression can lead to suicide; 15% of women suffering from depression will commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 24 years and the sixth leading cause of death for children between five and 14 years old. Two out of three people who committed suicide had visited with their health care physician within the month previous. Two out of three people who committed suicide talked about suicide to family or friends before they followed through on the act. (www.nmha.org) And what is the point here? Pay attention if you or someone you care about is struggling with depression. Treatment is available and relief can be found.
If you would like to have a depression screening, call our office for a free consultation or visit our office on Tuesday, January 16th between 9am and 2pm to take a free depression screening. Our Broken Bow office will be doing the screening on January 16th from 10am to 2pm. For more information call 382-5297×10.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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