Being down or sad every once in a while is normal. Being down in the dumps daily isn’t. Almost 18 million people experience depression annually in America. Of those 18 million, 35 percent did not seek treatment. During Mental Health Awareness Week, there is one day dedicated to depression screening. This is an education screening event that is conducted by hospitals, clinics, colleges and community groups nationwide. It is quick and easy to do and may give you answers you have been searching for.
Depression is described as, “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest,” by Mayo Clinic. Our national chapter of NAMI highlights specific events that can trigger depression, such as trauma, genetics, life circumstances, brain changes, medical conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or chronic pain and drug and alcohol abuse. Depression is different for everyone. There is no textbook way to define what can cause depression; however, these are the most common reasons for developing depression. Some symptoms to look out for in yourself or in loved ones include: changes in sleep and appetite, loss of concentration and energy, less activity, suicidal thoughts, physical pain and thoughts of hopelessness.
When I was diagnosed with depression a few years ago, I experienced only minor symptoms. My large one was lack of sleep but with the help of melatonin and giving myself a consistent bedtime, I was able to fix it. My depression was triggered by going to college and experiencing too much change at once. I sought help immediately since my anxiety got very intense as well. I was prescribed an antidepressant/antianxiety medication and I have been doing well ever since. However, since no one’s mental health is textbook, talk to your doctor about the best choice for you. Counseling is always an amazing opportunity because it is a safe place to explain your thoughts. Between therapy and prescriptions, I can say I successfully treated my depression and I am winning most battles with my anxiety.
Depression doesn’t know age, race or socioeconomic status. In America, almost seven percent of people have depression and of that seven percent, almost 64 percent are severely impaired from their depression. Treatments range from beginning a healthy lifestyle to psychotherapy. However it is treated, depression is treatable. You can help your community fight depression and the stigma attached to it by talking about it more and speaking up about your own mental health. Getting screened for depression is the first step. The next one is up to you. Here at NAMI, fighting the stigma of mental illness means helping those experiencing depression and decreasing the number of cases every year. We can only do this with your help.
If you are depressed, change some of your daily routines to begin to better yourself. Look after your body and brain, take some stress out of your life, find your calling in life and connect with friends and family.
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Brooke Crockett is a third year student at the Ohio State University with an anticipated graduation of May 2020. She is majoring in Strategic Communication and double-minoring in Professional Writing and Nonprofit Studies. She is the current marketing/PR intern for NAMI Greater Toledo.