Imagine a group of young, healthy people on a hiking trail. All of them are physically fit to one degree of another, with no outward appearances of illness. One of the group begins to lag behind the other. She’s not the most athletic among them, but certainly ha been hiking before and is always close to the front of the group. She complains that her chest fells tight and breathing is difficult. She is encouraged to breathe deeper. She’s reminded that other people have smaller lungs and they are breathing just fine. She’s always been able to take deep breath’s before so she most not be trying. Maybe she just wants attention, so she’s breathing “wrong” on purpose.
Of course this is ridiculous and no one would be considered weak or lazy because of an illness affecting her lungs. If one is experiencing a medical illness, it is certainly acceptable to seek medical help, even if there are no outward symptoms readily seen by others. If no one around her was suffering from diminished capacity to breath, or she could not pinpoint why she became ill, she probably would not conclude it occurred because of flaw in her character.
Now change the scenario just a bit. This group of young, healthy people is interacting in a n office instead of a hiking trail The young woman’s illness isn’t centered in her lungs, but in her brain. She lacks energy, is sleeping too much, finds it very difficult to motivate herself and can’t seem to concentrate.
The simple fact is the brain is just a susceptible to illness as any other organ in the human body. When a brain stops producing the correct chemical balance to stabilize mood, the result can sometimes be depression. The result is a cessation of crucial positive emotions such as joy, peace, hopefulness, ect.
Enormous strides have been made in understanding mental illness and providing effective treatment including medical and psychological interventions. Although treatments are readily available and easily accessible, it is estimated that only on out of three seriously depressed people seek help.
So how do I know I need help?
Everybody experiences an occasional depressed mood. When the “blues” drag on for more than a week or so the problem may need attention. Feelings of hopelessness and despair can impact a life on many levels. If you or a loved one are experiencing two or more of any of the following symptoms, please seek assistance.
- Depressed or irritable mood most of the day—nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (such as hobbies, work, sex, or being with friends) most of the day—nearly every day
- A sudden change in weight or appetite
- Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Agitation or restlessness (observed by others)
- Constant fatigue or loss of energy
- Frequent feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Important note: If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, seek professional help immediately.
You don’t need to have all these signs and symptoms to have depression. Symptoms will also vary from person to person. For instance, compared with depressed men, depressed women are more likely to experience guilt, weight gain, anxiety, eating disorders, or increased sleep. Depressed older adults tend to experience persistent sadness or “empty” moods.
For more information about Frequent thoughts of death or suicide. Click Here.