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No matter what word one uses — apathy, sadness — each of the above and many more, like hopelessness, helplessness, are all symptoms and/or expressions of depression.
Everyone experiences some times called “dark days” when it’s hard to get going. It usually doesn’t last that long, and you don’t usually end up in a pit with no way out. But some people (maybe you are one of them) suffer with this debilitating, emotionally-draining malady for far too long and it saps too much energy, which could be used so many other more productive ways.
Depression has been considered by authors from many walks of life as by far the most common psychiatric symptom present in our society. It affects both males and females, although females will seek professional help more often than males. It is often masked with things like a loss of interest in work, sex, other usual activities and an inability to enjoy what were once pleasurable activities and/or events, even a loss of appetite.
Often the one with this problem denies that he/she feels bad, even offering some made-up reason or excuse for how one feels, even covering up the feeling with an overly smiling countenance.
OK, but isn’t it true that the depression may not be physical, but more likely the environment in which the person was raised, perhaps in a family where certain important members were also that way. When can the symptoms be first detected? As early as infancy, according to some mental health experts. You may not be aware of some of the terms associated with depression which separates one type from another, such as reactive, endogenous, psychotic, neurotic, acute. Most professionals would separate these from the more common term, discouragement, which is seen as a more mild form, often displayed on a temporary basis and includes some mood swings that can often come in response to some form of disappointment, failure, loss, etc.
So, now you can relax if you thought this was a presentation to see if you are an oddball, and you may still be one anyway, but all of this is presented to assure you that it is common, but can be complicated in order to be free from its crippling effects,when you determine that yours doesn’t happen only once in a while but more often than you are comfortable with.
While you probably know of someone, if it is not you who experiences its emotionally crippling effects, who seems to be always down, and while you would like to cheer that person up, and let them know you care (and that still would be a nice thing to do), you may be expecting change to happen, and hopefully soon, there may be a physical-genetic cause.
Some causes can include lack of sleep, improper diet, the effects of prescription or non-prescription drugs, brain tumors, and other things such as low blood sugar, other wise known as hypoglycemia. I had a client many years ago who had suffered for years with depression, and upon my direction that he see a medical doctor to address this issue and when he followed medical advice, his personal and family life had a major change and we did not continue our counseling program.
Serious family disorders, learned helplessness, negative thinking, anger, or life-stresses can also contribute to the symptoms of depression.
Finally, no one really enjoys having problems, and especially if it is the symptoms of depression, there aren’t any benefits and the symptoms aren’t really satisfying. Depressed people are often passive, nonverbal poorly motivated, pessimistic and characterized by a resigned “what’s the use?” attitude.
When this takes place in my office I take a more active role than I may normally take, offering optimistic reassuring statements, but no probing questions or demands for action, which could create more discouragement.
If you have been experiencing depression more often than what may seem like just a passing mood swing, don’t continue with this pattern.
Try to get some help to determine if this is more serious than expected and you may enjoy the overall effect it has on your personal and family life. For more information, call 477-2818.