Welcome back! In my past three posts, I have been discussing all of my different mental diagnoses in a series I called “My Diagnoses.” Today, I am writing the 4th and final post of this series. So far, we’ve covered anxiety and panic, OCD, and some of my phobias. In this last installment, I will be talking all about depression, one of the most common mental disorders in America. Primarily, I’ll be explaining my experience with the disorder. So, let’s get started!
What is Depression?
Depression is one of the many mental disorders that seem to get confused with normal human emotions. Many people loosely use the term depression when referring to feelings of sadness or disappointment. This, of course, is very inaccurate, considering depression is an actual disorder. The Mayo Clinic describes depression (or major depressive disorder) as “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” This disorder can affect every part of your life. The way you feel, think, and function are impacted when depression arises. The causes of depression are much like the causes of anxiety. Many factors may play different roles in depression, such as genetics, brain chemistry, environmental factors, health issues, drug use, loss of a loved one, and much more. Depression is a very complex and confusing disorder, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.
How Depression Has Affected Me
If you have been keeping up with my posts the past 2 weeks, you’ve probably realized that a lot of the thoughts that go through my head every day are of a very stressful and worrisome nature. With a chemical imbalance handed down to me from two generations, it seems like constant anxious thoughts are swirling around my head for most of the day. With anxiety, panic, OCD, and phobias, it’s fairly easy to fall into depression. For years, I’ve fallen in and out of depression from month to month, and I realized that was what it was: a depressive episode that would end soon. I usually felt really sad, hopeless, and tired when these episodes would occur. What I wasn’t expecting is the realization that I had been depressed for months. My depression was such a slow incline that it didn’t occur to me that depression could be the culprit for many of my symptoms. I stopped reading books, which for me is very strange, because I love reading. I slowly kept dropping all of my hobbies. Crocheting. Coloring. Baking. I became extremely lonely. After I dropped all of these things I used to find enjoyable and was now uninterested in, the only thing I did with my free time was lie in bed and watch Netflix or YouTube. My mom had suggested before that I might be depressed, but I chalked it up to tiredness. Then, the week I started taking Lexapro, I read a whole book. That’s when I realized that the way I was feeling for all those months wasn’t normal. Reading a book became such a victory. Something that so many people could do if they wanted became a milestone for me. Unfortunately, my body ended up rejecting Lexapro, but that action of simply reading a book gave me hope. I started taking Prozac the next week and decided to begin crocheting myself a Christmas blanket. I started this blog. I’m laughing easier. I’m slowly emerging from this depression and finding different activities enjoyable again! This week hasn’t been the best, though. I’ve not felt the happiest the past few days, mostly due to anxiety and frustration. I started to feel like I will never be able to do anything with my life, and I’m just trying to be patient with myself and get out of this current depressed state. I will get through this episode soon, and I’m planning on enjoying the rest of my break by reading a book!
Signs and Treatment
The signs or symptoms of anxiety according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.
I am all too familiar with a lot of these symptoms. I know what it’s like to wonder why you were put on this earth. I’ve wondered before why my mother didn’t have a miscarriage or why God hadn’t just put me in a freak accident. I was never suicidal, but I didn’t care to live. This is part of the reason why I am very passionate about people getting the necessary treatment.
Treatment may include medication and/or therapy. If you are suffering from depression I cannot suggest seeing a psychiatrist strongly enough. There is always someone willing to help, and there is always hope.
Thanks for reading!
I know this was a dark topic to write about, but part of ending the stigma is talking about things that are not discussed enough. If you are struggling, please seek help. People care about you, no matter how it may feel. If you need to talk to someone, feel free to email me or even use one of the crisis hotlines below. Thanks to everyone who has read my series, and I hope the articles posted helped at least one person who is going through a tough time. Feedback and sharing is greatly appreciated. I now have an Instagram for this blog @theanxiousteensofamerica. Enjoy your Thanksgiving! God bless you.
The references below are very helpful if you wanted to check them out!