Symptoms of Depression
Depression has a significant effect on functioning and wellbeing. Symptoms can include experiencing diminished mood, loss of interest in most activities, insomnia, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty with concentration, among others, over at least two weeks. These result in an impairment in one or more areas of functioning, such as work and personal. In the most extreme cases of depression, a person can consider, attempt or commit suicide.
You’re working in a high pressure and intense job. If the higher ups say they need you to come in on Saturday and work until 10:00 at night, then that’s what you have to do. But what if you can barely get out of bed. You didn’t sleep most of the night and the sleep you had was interrupted because you woke several times. Your worrying starts to move from moderate into severe territory. You’re thinking: “How can I possibly do the quality work that’s expected of me if I’m struggling a even get out of bed?” Even if you make it into work, you find it so difficult to concentrate that what normally takes you 15 minutes to do now takes you an hour. You’re forced to stay at the office longer to get your work done and this perpetuates the cycle of decreasing your mood and increasing your anxiety. You’re beating yourself up emotionally because you don’t understand what’s happening and are blaming yourself for everything. Thinking: “Why can’t I just get back to normal?”
This example focuses on professional functioning. Depression can also significantly impact personal functioning. You’re not able to do your home responsibilities, like cleaning the yard, taking the kids to soccer practice, being there for your spouse or partner to provide emotional support after a tough day, and many others. Resentment can build up in your spouse or partner resulting in conflict, which can intensify your already serious negative feelings.
Treatment for Depression
Sadly there is no quick and easy cure for ending depression. Thankfully a combination of treatments has been found to reduce and in many cases eliminate symptoms so a person can return to normal level of functioning.
One treatment is seeing a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who’s specialty is psychological matters and who can prescribe medication.
Meeting with a therapist can also be beneficial. Even if people have a strong support system with a spouse or partner, other loved ones and friends, they may feel they don’t want to burden them or they may feel uncomfortable talking with them about these types of issues. A therapist can provide an objective safe space to talk and this can be a helpful release of negative emotion and a place to gain insight into the issues that have contributed to depression. Together you and the therapist can develop a plan to move forward in a productive and positive way to heal.
Other external resources include support groups, faith-based organizations, wellness programs at work, books, articles and videos, among others. There’s also the internal coping skills that you’ve been using and others you can develop, like deep breathing, meditation, journaling, music, art, exercise and others.
Combining supports can provide the most effective and ideal support to recover from depression. Seeing a psychiatrist to take medication while seeing a therapist. Or seeing a therapist and speaking with friends. Psychiatrist plus attending a support group. Integrating coping skills into all.
The information in this podcast episode is to get insight into depression so you can get the help you need or intervene prior to symptoms becoming severe if you or someone you know is experiencing these types of challenges. The key to remember is you’re not alone. You can feel better.