Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #10
What is depression?
So this is super important. Feeling depressed and depression are not the same thing. Everyone can ‘feel depressed’ at points in their lives...something negative or sad in our lives happens and it can make you feel depressed.
Like I swear I felt depressed at the end of the TV show parenthood. I watched in on netflix, and there were SOO many seasons. I was super invested in those characters, and maybe this says a lot about me. But when and how that show ended made me feel depressed. It is a normal emotion on the spectrum of emotions.
Depression on the other hand is a clinical diagnosis often referred to a Major Depressive Disorder.
Those symptoms include: Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide
For someone to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, then those symptoms have to persist for at least two weeks. There are a few different factors that can contribute to a Depression diagnosis:
Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
A few more facts about depression:
Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.
Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s.
Women are more likely than men to experience depression.
Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
Okay, that is how we can identify depression in ourselves, and in others! But how do we deal with depression?
First, let’s talk about how to deal with depression when a loved one is experiencing it.
I have family and friends who have been diagnosed with MDD and it is SOOO hard to not take their behavior personal. When they don’t want to get out of bed, when they have no energy, when they seem almost lethargic and have lost their spunk for life, it can be easy to think that we did something wrong. That is not the case.
If you have a loved one experiencing depression, it’s not your fault. Please don’t carry that burden. They have to want to get some help, and I’ll talk about what that might look like later. But you can encourage them in that regard. To get help, to develop healthy habits.
If you are ever around someone who is talking about Suicide, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY! I can’t stress that enough. Especially if someone is saying they have a plan, if they have the means to go through with that plan...it is not for attention. Suicide rates are on the rise, especially with vulnerable populations. Look for the signs! Call the suicide help line, get them or if it yourself to a hospital ASAP.
So we are kinda getting into how to deal with depression, if you are experiencing it yourself...or what to do if your loved one is experiencing it.
My starting place would 100% be therapy.
There are a TON of coping skills that they can help us develop to deal with depression. So seeing a therapist first, is the best idea. And a lot of times if therapy isn’t enough, then you might be referred to see a DR and get on a medication.
And I just need to say this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking medication for depression. It is just like taking meds for blood pressure or anything else.
If you know you are prone to periods of depression, then developing healthy habits is KEY. Eating right, exercise, staying active, being productive, sleeping 8 hours, keeping stress levels low are all simple and really important things when it comes to combating depression.
This is an illness that really makes you want to isolate, if you know that then you can force yourself to stay connected to family and friends. If you know someone who is depressed, then don’t let them get away with staying home when everyone else is going out.
Another thing that has some science around it that helps with depression is having and caring for a pet. Therapy dogs are a real thing y’all. They can get you thinking about something other than yourself, and it helps to feel needed-- like something else is depending on you.
Get active, get outside in the sunshine!
Becoming self-aware is key when dealing with depression. Knowing when those feeling are coming up, noticing the change in behaviors and thought patterns. You can identify those in yourself, and you can identify those in someone else.
Be proactive! I could go on and on about specific coping strategies and sysmptons, but I really think this is a good introduction where you can start to seek out help or more information if you need it. One of the biggest things is starting to reduce stigma of mental health issues. I’m unpacking these issues this this month because I want to start to normalize them. We throw around the word depressed like it is a bad thing, or like it is negative. And that causes people to carry shame and think something is wrong with them. It prevents them from seeking out the help they need, and that is the last thing we want!
So if you or someone you know is struggling, reach out. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to me and I will point you in the right direction.
So yeah, that is all I got for today! Thanks for hanging out with me, and keep sharing the podcast with your friends. I’m loving seeing all the posts on social media. Don’t forget to leave a rating and review. They mean the world to me! Well I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll catch you next week!