Depressed? You are not alone

Sunday, April 5, 2015

By Maryleigh Sharp

According to Magill’s Medical Guide, 15 to 20 percent of adults will experience major depression at some point in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I know how it feels first hand to want to end things in your life.

Some people may want to hurt themselves and others may want to seclude themselves from the world, yet I am telling you there is a way to get through this. It may not be easy, but I know it’s a day-by -day process.

In Magill’s Medical Guide, Oliver Oyama, Ph.D., and Nancy Piotrowski, Ph.D., state, “Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders to occur in most lifetimes, caused by biological, psychological, social, and/or environmental factors.”

Depression blindsided my life when I thought it could never happen to me. I didn’t know at the time what activated my feelings, yet I knew I didn’t want to go down the path I was on.

Recently, I had thoughts of suicide which led me to a bridge in Manayunk. I was gripping the railing so tight my knuckles turned white.

With the thought of jumping to end it all, the only thing that saved me was the phone call from my mom who had no idea of the situation I was in.

With the number of friends I have and how close to family I am, I didn’t expect depression to creep up on me.

I thought I was happy with my life and with all the great relationships I have with the people I love.

I’m involved in many activities and always have a smile on my face. I didn’t realize how depression was actually in my life until I sat down and reevaluated my life.

According to Oyama and Piotrowski, “Women are twice as likely to suffer from the disorder than are men.”

A few of the symptoms of depression are loss of interest in activities, loss of weight or energy, insomnia or hypersomnia, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death, report Oyama and Piotrowski.

When breaking down my life I started to realize all the symptoms of depression I had and how they matched up. It took me by surprise.

I had lost interest in the dance team that I started at DCCC and I started eating less, trying to reach a standard set by the media, losing 25 pounds as a result.

I started ignoring friends’ invitations to go out and found myself sleeping through a whole day without noticing. I always felt like I was doing something wrong even something as small as accidently bumping into someone.

I never felt good enough because I was too “curvy” for today’s ideal look.

With all of these things that were going on, I just wanted to end my life.

I have since learned there are different ways to treat depression, but it all comes down to what type you have.

There are two types of depression: one is clinical depression and the other is bipolar depression.

I have clinical depression, which can be treated with inhibitors, antidepressant drugs or psychotherapy.

According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “Psychotherapy is treatment of mental or emotional illness by talking about problems rather than by using medicine or drugs.” I do psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy helps me calm down and realize that I have a chance to change someone else’s life, just by talking to someone I don’t know. They don’t know anything about me except that I have depression.

Treating depression can be difficult and it’s not easy to admit to someone you have it.

But in addition to medication and psychotherapy, there are many other ways to manage depression, according to the Australian Psychological Society, which include: creating a list of enjoyable activities, reflecting on past achievements, dwelling on the positive when experiencing a depression episode, and focusing your mind on constructive solutions to deter negative thoughts.

According to WebMd, “it is estimated that, by the year 2020, major depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of the leading causes of disability in the world.”

I want to stop this statistic and be one less victim of depression.

Even though most of my days aren’t easy, I still push through because I know deep down that, no matter what, I am going to get better. I know that I can make a change and that is what makes me want to kick depression’s butt.

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, these resources could be helpful: American Psychological Association, Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-TALK.

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