Mental Health Awareness Week; Day 4: Depression

It is Day 4 of Mental Health Awareness Week. Today, I will be discussing Depression. I will be discussing Depression because I not only struggle with it but many other people in my life struggle with it as well. I personally was diagnosed when I was 14 years old. That means I have had Depression my than half my life. I will again be giving you information that is posted on National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website. NAMI’s website is nami.org.

What are the symptoms of major depression and how is it diagnosed?

Depression can be difficult to detect from the outside, but for those who experience major depression, it is disruptive in a multitude of ways. It usually causes significant changes in how a person functions in many of the following areas:

  • Changes in sleep. Some people experience difficulty in falling asleep, waking up during the night or awakening earlier than desired. Other people sleep excessively or much longer than they used to.
  • Changes in appetite. Weight gain or weight loss demonstrates changes in eating habits and appetite during episodes of depression.
  • Poor concentration. The inability to concentrate and/or make decisions is a serious aspect of depression. During severe depression, some people find following the thread of a simple newspaper article to be extremely difficult, or make major decisions often impossible.
  • Loss of energy. The loss of energy and fatigue often affects people living with depression. Mental speed and activity are usually reduced, as is the ability to preform daily routines.
  • Lack of interest. During depression, people feel sad and lose interest in usual activities.
  • Low self-esteem. During periods of depression, people dwell on memories of losses or failures and feel excessive guilt and helplessness.
  • Hopelessness or guilt. The symptoms of depression often produce a strong feeling of hopelessness, or a belief that nothing will ever improve. These feelings can lead to thoughts of suicide.
  • Movement changes. People may literally look “slowed down: or overly activated and agitated.

Mental health care professionals use the criteria for depression in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to develop a diagnosis.

There is a strong possibility that a depressive episode can be a part of Bipolar Disorder. Having a physician make the right distinction between unipolar major depression and bipolar depression is critical because treatments for these two depressive disorders differ.

Again, I got the above information from NAMI’s website at nami.org. NAMI is an awesome resource in regards to mental illness. I am grateful that NAMI and other such organizations are out there to help spread the word about mental illness and to help stop the stigma that goes along with it.

Depression effects me severely for many different reason. One of those reason is that when my depression gets severe I get psychotic. When I mean psychotic, I hallucinate. With some people’s depression they have psychotic features along with it. I know when things get severe with my depression when the psychotic features rear their ugly head and that usually means that I need to be hospitalized. Thankfully, my depression hasn’t been that severe in about 3 years. Another thing in regards to my depression is that I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  SAD is another form of Depression however it is its own separate diagnosis.

I maintain my depression in various ways. I not only take an antidepressant for my depression but I also see a therapist every other week. (Side note: If my symptoms get bad I then see my therapist every week) I also eat regularly and try to make sure that I eat as healthy as possible. I also exercise on the regular basis even if that means I only walk 3 miles that day. I always at least walk 3 miles a day even if its rainy and stormy outside. Yes, I even walk 3 miles a day when it is icy and snowy outside. I do this because I know it helps with my depression. Plus it gets me outside. With depression I tend to isolate and getting out to walk helps me not isolate. Getting outside even when rainy and/or cloudy gives you that natural light that every needs and you even get Vitamin D through the clouds from the sunlight. I also make sure I have good sleep hygiene. I try to go to bed at the same time every night as well as get up at the same time every morning. I do this because it helps me with my depression even on nights I don’t get much sleep. I do many other things as well but I don’t want to bore you with them. I just wanted to try to convey on what depression was and how I deal with it to try to keep it at bay.

Well, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. I hope to blog again tomorrow on another mental health diagnosis. I hope that I am conveying to you the reader and/or follower that I am intending. I hope that I am educating you all on mental illness. Well have a good rest of your day. Peace Out!!!

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