“I’m sad. I think I have depression.”
Have you been feeling down for at least two weeks? Did you lose interest in activities you once enjoyed? Notice a change in your appetite? Is your sleep pattern off? Sleeping too little or too much? Feeling like you’re worthless?
If you said yes to all of these, you likely are suffering from depression.
Depression is a common yet serious mental illness. The invisible illness negatively affects how an individual feels or acts which leads to emotional and physical problems. Affecting about 6.7% of adults each year, it is treatable.
Depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain; however, the illness is more complex. Genetics, personality, and environmental factors all have a role in causing depression. It is possible that the illness runs within the family, inherited through generations. Individuals who have a low self-esteem or who are overwhelmed/stressed are more likely to experience depression. The environment the individual is living in likely to experience depression as well (What is Depression?).
Depression is considered an invisible illness, meaning it is internal with no external symptoms therefore it does not exist. However, myself and many other individuals face the daily struggles of depression. If you do not experience it, that does not mean it doesn't exist.
Depression is one of the most treatable mental illness. 80-90% respond very well to the various types of treatment. Anti-depressants help modify the brain chemicals. Psychotherapy, talk therapy, is used to treat mild depression along with medication. Cognitive behavior therapy has been found to be more effective in treating the illness that helps focus on the present, problem solving, recognising distorted thinking and behavior change. Electroconvulsive therapy is known for treating severe depression and bipolar disorder. The therapy is electrical stimulation to the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. This is done two to three times a week for a total of twelve treatments (What is Depression?).
If you or someone you know is currently struggling, please reach out and get help. It will get easier with time. It is okay to not be okay.
You are not alone.
What Is Depression?, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression. Accessed 27 Sept. 2017.
“Depression In Teens.” Mental Health America, 8 Dec. 2016, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-teens.