First and foremost let me clearly state: “I am not a doctor or a physiologist, I speak from my own experiences and research. If you or someone you know is severely depressed or suicidal please call 911, seek professional help. Their life may depend on it".
How else could I describe it? Well perhaps that would not be a good question to ask someone especially if they are in the midst of this dark time, unless you are prepared to listen without judgment. I actually did try to think of a ‘proper’ title for this entry, but to be honest, that fits well, no candy coating here.
I suppose I should begin with sharing a bit about myself and my experience with depression.
I am 53 years old now, I remember as a child and early adulthood, thinking to myself “why do I cry every day?” and “will there ever be a time when I don’t cry every day?” Eventually that day did come, however that is yet another story to explore.
The constant feelings of sadness always lingered in the background; I thought this was a ‘normal’ thing in life because I never knew anything else. Sure I would appear happy and chipper to others and I would even experience times of joy and happiness in my life; however the ever looming feeling of sadness deep within me never really left completely.
It wasn’t until I was about 38 years old that I began my journey into understanding depression and dealing with it in a way that would be healthy for me. That meant professional Christian counseling and medication. (Let me add notes here, not ALL so called “Christian Counselors” are truly bible believing Christian counselors. Do you homework or have someone do the homework for you before you go talk w/ them).
“Depression” may show itself in a variety of ways, and may originate from several areas in our life. Sometimes it may originate from the following causes (to name a few):
stressful life events,
Fluctuating hormone levels (Sometimes women who are menopausal will suffer from depression due to the imbalance of hormones during this time of their lives.)
alcohol and drug abuse or misuse,
Other chronic physical conditions.
Some of the causes listed above last for just a “period” of time, when the circumstances improve the will depression improve. Other causes of depression are more of a “life time” existence. But this does not mean there is no hope!!! There is always hope!
In my case, the depression I have is due to a chemical imbalance, one that I have had all of my life. It’s probable that I have inherited it through the gene structure of my parents.
Listed below are some of the signs or symptoms of depression. Please keep in mind not everyone has the same symptoms. You may have some, but not others. Each person varies to some degree.
· Persistent feelings of being sad or anxious
· Feelings of “emptiness”
· Feelings of hopelessness
· Feelings of unjustified guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
· Decreased energy, consistent fatigue,
· Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions (please keep in mind that becoming overly stressed can also cause these symptoms)
· Insomnia, or sleeping too much
· Appetite changes: overeating or weight loss
· Restlessness, irritability
· Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
· Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, like headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain
· Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts (PLEASE call 911 if you or someone you know is experiencing this symptom).
In future blogs we will talk more about this "Silent Killer".