If you remember three things from this article, it should be that depression is real, it is not your fault, and it is treatable.
Depression was on the rise before the coronavirus and has continued to become more common even after we have largely gone back to business as usual. More people than ever before are admitting to feeling depressed. During one point in the pandemic, a staggering 46% of American adults over aged 18 self-reported an increase in depressive symptoms within the previous 7-day period. While the stress of the lockdowns and the pandemic made coping more difficult, it also exposed just how many of us need help for depression and anxiety.
Key points about depression
- Depression can affect anyone and is not caused by laziness.
- Depression tends to respond well to treatment.
- You can learn signs that can help you identify depression — in yourself or in someone close to you.
Depression is real — take notice!
If you or someone you care about seems unmotivated, takes less pleasure in activities or interests, or exhibits a sense of sadness or hopelessness, take it seriously. People don’t pretend to feel depressed when everything is going right in the world around them and they’re excited about life. At the very least, identifying that there’s a cause for concern is a signal that there’s something that can be improved. Depression is a clinically measurable mood disorder that lasts for a sustained period, often without a clear cause, and affects one’s daily functioning and pleasure in life.
Depression can affect anyone
While depression often manifests in a lack of motivation or interest in life, it is not caused by laziness or an unwillingness to take responsibility. In fact, many accomplished, competent, and hard-working people have talked publicly about their struggles with depression, including:
- Singers such as Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.
- Actors such as Jon Hamm and Dwayne Johnson.
- Author J.K. Rowling.
- In the business world, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Reddit Co-founder Aaron Swartz.
- Athletes such as 28-time Olympic medal winner Michael Phelps and NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
- Astronaut Buzz Aldrin — was so transformed by treatment for depression that he became chairman of the National Mental Health Association
Depression should not be a private burden. Unfortunately, some people choose to keep it hidden and battle their depression alone, without help, for much longer than they need to.
8 common symptoms of depression
How can you tell if you or someone close to you has depression? Be alert to some of the most common symptoms of depression, including:
- A persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness (especially that might not be attributable to a specific life event)
- Physical fatigue, lack of energy and motivation — or that basic tasks take considerably longer than usual
- Decreased interest in pleasurable hobbies or activities you used to enjoy
- The tendency to self-isolate and avoid social interactions
- Sleep issues: sleeping far more than is necessary or insomnia
- A noticeable change in appetite (either overeating or lack of appetite)
- Unusual complaints about physical pain or ailments that don’t usually bother a person and suddenly manifest
- The presence of self-injurious behaviors, sometimes including substance or alcohol abuse
This list is not exhaustive. Most people with depression will not exhibit all of these symptoms. These are just commonly occurring indicators to alert you that you, or someone you love, might be dealing with depression and need help.
Reach out for help now
Being trained in quite a number of different therapeutic modalities, I’m experienced in helping clients work through their challenges with a strengths-based approach to drive their own progress and reach the outcomes that they want in their life. If you or a loved one have been struggling with depression, call me today.