Understanding Depression

What is Depression?

Depression is more than just being sad – it is a serious illness that affects your mental and physical health.

The word ‘depression’ is used in many different ways. At any time, a person may feel sad because something bad happened. By time, this sad feeling will go away. When it comes to depression, that sad feeling remains. It lingers for a whole day, for a week, even for two weeks and at times even more. Depression is a common illness that effects millions worldwide. It can become a problematic illness that affects the person’s life. Work, relationships, school, family and friendships are all disrupted if help is not found. Unfortunately, not seeking help for depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, making suicide the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year-olds.

 The good news is, help is available! There are several known, effective treatments for mental disorders. For further information on available treatments and supports click here. 

What Causes Depression

It is difficult to pin point exactly the main cause of depression, as it could be a result of a number of things. At times it is a combination of events that occurred very recently, a past experience – or both. Some of the factors that researchers and doctors have found are the following.

Life Situations

One of the main causes is the life situation. Such as; parental separation or divorce, lack of a close confiding relationship with someone, caring full-time for a person with a long-term disability, long-term or serious physical illness, loneliness, poverty and social disadvantage.

Stress

Stress contributes to depression especially when a person is exposed to long periods. Stress comes from different situation, such as having a lot of demands at work, poverty, or taking care of a loved one.

Family History 

Having close family members with depression, due to the passing of genes. That being said, having a close relative with depression doesn’t mean you will have depression. Other factors and life circumstances also need to be present. 

Brain Changes

At times the way the brain is structured and the chemicals in the brain contribute to developing depression. At times, having too much or a lack off, of a particular brain chemical leads to depression. This gets complicated, but these brain chemicals are also effected by the genes that each person has

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental conditions contribute to developing depression. Such as; lack of light, lack of greenery, crowded places, environmental pollution, noise pollution and poor environmental conditions.

Sex

females are more likely to have depression than males. Premenstrual changes in hormone levels also contributes.

Drug & Alcohol Use

Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression.

 

All these factors can make you feel overwhelmed, but the human being is strong and resilient! Having a difficult time or a period of stress, does not mean you will develop depression. It may feel as such, and it is still encouraged to find help. If you are feeling constantly sad and you do not seem to be feeling any better, it is time you find the professional help you need.

 

Experiences

Awareness on mental health has increased, and a quick search on the web on experiences of depression results into quite a few blogs of people sharing their experiences.

Each person has a different experience of depression, and their journey towards recovery. Some sought help at a later time, allowing symptoms to worsen, as others managed to find help at an early stage.

People who experienced depression say that their journey of finding help was not easy. From not knowing where to find help, to finding which treatment and support was the best fit. But, the best form of one can find is your own self. Some would say ‘Cheer Up’, ‘It will pass’, ‘You are young, you have so much spirit’, but rather than making the person feel supported, these would make them feel misunderstood and even lonelier.

Despite the feeling of what seems impossible to overcome, there is still hope and recovery is possible. Do not feel guilty for the way you are feeling, because depression is an illness like any other. Give yourself the same respect and concern, you would show others who are struggling with some form of physical illness.

Tina Mgharious

“I always felt very different.”

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