The Secret Cost of Depression

In my clinical practice I see a wide array of mental health conditions that affect one’s life, but none perhaps is more common than depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, Clinical Depression is defined as, “A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.” These words cannot even begin to describe the emotional hurt, dejection, pain, and suffering that impacts over 300 million people each year. At one’s very worse, a person may entertain the idea of suicide as being the only way out, which is thesecond leading cause of death for 15-29-year-old and impacts more than 800,000+ people who die by suicide every year. Major Depressive Disorder, the formal medical diagnosis, is the most common mental health condition in the world. Even with these alarm statistics, the way one is impacted varies so widely from person to person it can often go unnoticed and/or misdiagnosed.

            As people we are really good at suppressing and repressing painful memories or content out of our awareness. These defenses are established early in life and help us maintain our sense of self; or another way of putting it, it keeps those negative feelings/emotions from impacting us and our relationships. Research suggests that around 40% of unipolar depression is genetic (Nemeroff, 2003), which leaves the other 60% caused by environmental factors. This can take the form of not feeling good enough, abuse or trauma, emotional deprivation, and much more. Whenever I sit with someone in therapy, I try to understand the depths of their depression and their ideas around feeling alone and hopeless. This place can feel very scary and confusing, but the way many people improve from this medical condition is bringing them back into the human race and empathizing with their depression. To provide empathy is to understand, to understand is to heal. Below are some signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

If you or a friend is struggling please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

 

 

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