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by Haesue Jo, MA

Depression is a disorder that can affect everything you do in your daily life. It is not something you can quickly recover from, like a cold or stomach bug. Many people with depression think they are just feeling sad, and that it will go away with time. For some people, it does just that. But for 15 million others, depression is a constant feeling that does not go away on its own. These people are the ones who may benefit from extra support and help. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) found that depression is the second greatest reason for disability in the world. Unfortunately, only 10% of these people ever receive any effective treatment.

Are You Depressed?

So, how do you know if you are just sad or if you are suffering from depression? The main thing to remember is that if you have been feeling sad or depressed for more than two weeks, you may have depression. Some other symptoms include:

  • Sad or empty feeling for over two weeks
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Losing interest in things you usually enjoy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Nausea, headaches, chronic pain
  • Change in sleep (sleeping too much or not sleeping at all)
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Stressed out or anxious
  • Irritability or anger
  • Constant fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide

How Does Depression Affect Your Daily Life?

Depression can impact every area of your life, including but not limited to how you sleep and eat, your education and career, your relationships, health, and concentration. Individuals suffering from depression often also have comorbid disorders, such as alcohol and drug abuse or other addictions. Depression doesn’t just occur for an individual in vacuum; it can affect your friends, family, co-workers, and everyone around you. In addition, depression may impact how you perform at work or your levels of concentration, so it can negatively affect productivity. Leaving depression untreated can lead to many other complications in one’s personal and professional life. This is why it is so important to seek out help, not just for relationships and work, but for your own sake.

What You Can Do

Talk to someone in your family or one of your friends. You can talk to your doctor, human resources at work, or a therapist. If you do not want to speak to someone face-to-face, you can talk to someone online. Actually, psychiatrists have been using videoconferencing for therapy for over 50 years. There are licensed professionals online that you can talk to without an appointment or you can speak to them on the phone or text. The fact is, the sooner you start getting treatment, the sooner you will start feeling better. Do not ignore it and just hope it goes away.

Self-Treatment

You can also spend more time with your pets. Studies have shown that 74% of people with pets report having mental health improvements from owning a pet. While this is not a substitution for therapy, it has been shown to be a big help to almost everyone studied. Also, it helps to talk about it. No matter who you talk to, or if you just write it down on paper, it is therapeutic to write it, say it, and just let it out.

Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure you take the time to talk to someone about what you are feeling. Depression can be treated and managed by therapy and/or medication. The NIMH estimates that in the United States, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That's 6.9 percent of the population. You are not alone.


About the Author

Haesue-Jo-bio_0.jpgHaesue Jo, MA, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with years of experience providing individual and family therapy in community mental health, school settings, day treatment facilities and currently works at BetterHelp. Her current clinical focus includes working with individuals with a variety of presenting problems, including anxiety, relationship and family issues, trauma, community violence, gender identity, and depression.

Nice explanations with a step by step procedure. such nice blog you are providing to us . it is really help full to me.now i got clear vision on it.that credit goes to your way of explanation and procedure.thank you.

This really helped me understand what is going on out there with depression. I am a student doing a report about how depression works and my teacher would like to know when this was published?

I have a family member that is going through depression and it's been affecting me over the past 3 weeks. I am wondering if depression affects others to feel the same.

First note: I am no professional but have had much experience with depression and how it affects people.

I call this second hand depression, but am not sure if there is a certain name given by professionals. When you are around someone who is depressed, it is possible for you to begin feeling down as well. This is more commonly happens to people who are very empathetic.

Here are some tips to deal with it (things I have found to help):

-At the end of the day, write down (in a journal if you have one, or any notebook really) what good things happened. Who made you smile, who made you laugh and who you helped to smile and laugh. Focus on the good things here.

Talk with and hang out with friends. Make sure to be social, interacting positively with other people is important.

Do what you enjoy, whether it be sports, art- anything you like to do.

Make sure to get outdoors. Even if it is cold, getting at least some fresh air is good.

Be active, go for a walk or be up and moving.

Listen to upbeat music, even if you are not in the mood for it.

If you feel tired but know there is no real reason for it, get up and be moving. If you've been at home all day or most of the day, go somewhere else - even if it's just to the grocery store.

Keep in mind that depression is not just feeling sad. While the person may feel sad at times, it is more a lack of feeling: emptiness, numbness. It is looking at something you know you enjoy, and feeling nothing toward it.
A final tip is, if you are feeling second hand depression, separate yourself from the source for a little bit to give yourself a short break. This might help you have more energy to be around them.

Hopefully this helps!

I'm 57 and I've had anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember.

In addition to this, I've had situational depression for 10 years. My daughter is the cause of my situational depression.

She has a mental illness and I had hoped that she'd try to get help but this isn't happening and my depression has exacerbated because of it. I won't kill myself because I have a husband, son and dog who need me and I'm afraid of death. I have a psychiatrist, have gone to support groups, cbt for depression and anxiety programs, tried medications, but cannot shake my depression. I know the things that I'm supposed to do to combat my depression but I'm finding it harder and harder to stick with them.

Maria, I am 56 and have been diagnosed with MDD for more than 15 years. Before I go further, I want you to know that I try to not take anything for granted. My disease has cost me a major career and my 26 year marriage. I am seeing someone for this, but one of the things that is working for me is walking 1 hour everyday.....everyday. This 1 thing is working for me. I have and continue to try everything to feel better.....or as I call it "stable".

Why isn't this talked about in school programs or in public? This mental health disorder should be publicised more. I ask other people what is depression and they give me an answer saying"uh, its a feeling of glumness or sadness people sometimes have? Its normal for people to feel sad sometimes". Heck, everyone is depressed then! Sincerely Lost, Ramon

I don't want to talk to anyone about it. I told my mother. I feel like a self-psychopath. I made up this other personality from all my negative feelings. And it's taking its toll on me. Not a day goes by when I haven't thought of hurting/killing myself. And my life is so repetitive too. It's literally an inner demon. I don't want to hurt others so I hurt myself. I found a group of friends at school who help me feel better about it. But then the COVID-19 lockdown happened. I'm just so easily emotional and mentally exhausted. I don't what to do.

Depression is the most wors thing that could happen to a person. They suffer from a lot of things but can't really express it with anyone. It takes a lot of courage for them to speak up

My daughter 18 suffers from anxiety and depression and I fear she will not be able to function in society. How can I help her, I feel like I have tried everything. I don’t know what else to do.

If trying to figure things out on your own hasn't worked then I suggest getting professional help. If this option is not affordable or you have already tried it, finding ways to distract her and keeping her mind busy is always a good method as well. I've gone through it before when I was 14-15. I'm 17 now and I always do activities I enjoy such as playing music, going on walks outside, etc. I apologize if this isn't the answer you are looking for, I don't have a whole lot of information to go off of. I hope things get better for you and your daughter both. There's always a way that will work, it just takes a while to find it. Whatever your daughter may enjoy doing might be a good start. If your daughter isn't able to function with society, try to find a way for society to function with her.

I would suggest for you to find community support for yourself. There are parent groups of people who have children who suffer from anxiety and depression. In the US, there is the Mental Health Association. In a support group, you may find others with a similar situation or even people who have been there and provide ideas of what worked for them.

I will pray for you and your daughter that you find the help that’s needed.

I don't want to downplay the people who feel sadness with this disease. But I am one of those people who just felt numb, empty, and alone. Logically I know I'm not, I have a spouse, ( and that poor man , puts up with a lot) I have 3 healthy sons 21. 15, and 13, I have a great job that I make good money at and I love what I do...I have a social life( well not like it was) damn quarantine, I have a great therapist, i take antidepressants and anti anxiety medication. I journal, walk, eat healthy, take vitamins drink water, and i still feel blah , and i mean not suicidal, but i don't care if i didn't wake up tomorrow, because what is the point...I feel like we all have invisible numbers above our heads and that is our day to die countdown, no im not sczophrenic, its the panic that sers in and spirals out of control until, i an so tired from thinking so much i just want to sleep...this isn't living...

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