Dumping Depression: Introduction
“The worst kind of sad is not being able to explain why.”
"I'm not even a person anymore. I'm just stress and sadness."
"Depression is living in a body that fights to live with a mind that tries to die."
"That feeling when you are not necessarily sad but you just feel really empty."
Note: If you are in need of immediate assistance see a list of Help Hotline Numbers here.
A quick Google search for the term "depression" yields a couple hundred million search results, ranging from WebMD's "it's cancer" diagnosis, to memes that point out the commonality and cultural relevance of this disease. What you also find are thousands of people trying to put words to what living with this debilitating disease feels like, through forums, blogs, quotes and so much more. The quotes above are examples of this; these quotes also show the range of emotions and differences in how depression materializes in our lives. Depression is an almost unexplainable experience that wreaks havoc on the lives of millions every single day, and if you are one of the millions currently being affected by it, we want to express that we stand with you and understand that you are trying your very best to fight for your life.
This series is titled Dumping Depression, not because we believe it's a simple act of calling up depression and breaking things off because things are not working out, but rather to indicate the messy and emotional process it takes to heal from depression and the deeply held desire to get rid of this thing that has been causing so much pain. We have experienced for ourselves the despair that depression can plant deep inside of your chest, and how deeply its roots can grow. We know. We understand. And, WE CARE. This entire website was created for you and is dedicated to you. We want to ensure that no one has to needlessly suffer from depression or any other treatable mental illness. This series discusses the issues associated with depression and how to address the core problems that cause depression to perpetuate itself.
Treating A Flu
Depression is often called the common cold of the mind. A low day here or there can seem as innocuous as the seasonal cough that springs up out of nowhere. However, if such a cough persists, any good doctor would advise you to be checked out for a closer look. As we've seen this flu season, what might seem like a run of the mill cold can end up in catastrophe if left untreated.
Similarly is the case for depression; you might start to feel a low lying feeling of dread for a few days - let's call it a tickle in your throat - but, if it has been weeks or months, or Heaven forbid, years, that this feeling of despair has stuck around, we would advise you to go get checked out by a professional. Make no mistake, depression is just as life threatening as any physical illness, if not more in many cases.
What does depression really feel like?
Depression is tricky in that it is not so easily defined. There are often cultural definitions for what we feel that summarize the feelings, but at the same time might minimize how significant they are. Some statements I have personally heard correctly identify the feelings associated with depression but might undercut it are, "feeling miserable", "just feeling aggy,"" a touch of the blues," "feeling blah" and more. These are all statements that pinpoint the precursor to possible problems.
In real life, depression feels like a constant lump in your throat that refuses to go away. It sometimes feels like a hole or a ball in your chest that you can't seem to fill or shift. It's caring about everything but having no will to do anything about it. It's tears welling up in your eyes despite not being sure why. It's waking up in the morning and feeling sad that you did. It's like being stuck in an invisible dungeon that no one else can see or understand. It's seeing the world pass you by and being frozen and powerless to exert your will on it. It's years and years of hopelessness and fear of how you might literally shatter into millions of pieces if one more thing goes wrong.
Clinically, these descriptions can become more... well, clinical. Let's look at how they might be described by a clinician.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM 5), calls what we most commonly refer to as depression, Major Depressive Disorder. Symptoms of this disorder can include:
- Depressed mood
- Decreased interest in activities
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
- Insomnia or Hypersomnia
- Feelings of restlessness observable by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Decreased ability to concentrate, indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
What to do about it
Depression isn't diagnosed with all of these symptoms, but for a symptom to be counted, you must experience it nearly every day. Feeling many of these on most days would most likely constitute a depressive episode. You should always check with a professional before diagnosing yourself. A professional can note slight variations that may be affecting your depression, such as irritability rather than sadness, or cultural considerations that might lead to a different diagnosis, or none at all.
The point is, if you have found yourself feeling numb, hopeless, disconnected from the world, continuously frustrated, irritable and/or angry on a regular basis, depression may be a consideration. Additionally, chances are if you are reading this blog, you have already been diagnosed with depression. We must congratulate you on making that brave first step! Also, we are sure that you realize that the diagnosis is only the beginning. Depression is a long battle of changing our thinking to more positive and helpful ones so that we can increase our feelings of wellness and productivity.
We again want to stress that you are in contact with a health care professional, preferably two, your general practitioner and your mental health therapist, who have formulated a treatment plan that includes counseling sessions, as well as medications, if they believe this is necessary. We provide our blog and guide sheets to work together with the aforementioned intervention, not as a replacement. This series covers specific thought prescriptions that you can work through at your own pace, for improving depression and for preventing the reoccurrence of episodes. If you are in immediate need of help we have a list of emergency numbers listed above and below.
What's in this Series
This series will cover the behavioral patterns that underlie depression. Here are this series' installments:
How to Get Help
It can be difficult to get help because you are not motivated and the route to getting help is hard to figure out even when you want to. Here are some ways to get help:
- Psychology Today - Psychology Today has the largest list of therapists in the United States. Feel free to filter by your insurance, specific areas of treatment, and even what gender of clinician you would like to work with.
- Talkspace - Talkspace is the leading site which offers counseling services over the internet. This may be helpful if you are uninsured, or have a high copay for mental health. A counselor can work with you via messages, and also through video chat.
- Betterhelp - Betterhelp is another large online counseling site that offers you unlimited access to a counselor for a weekly fee. Sessions take place via messaging and also via video chat.
The most important fact about depression is that it can be treated. It is the most common mental illness, which makes it the most researched, and the most known, with the most treatments. You can beat it, and you will. You don't need to allow depression to be a part of your story any longer. Get help and fight back. You don't have to do it alone.
Help Hotline Numbers
Depression can be a debilitating illness, and we implore anyone dealing with it to take it seriously. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 in the United States. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Here are some international hotlines as well:
Bosnia & Herzegovina: 080 05 03 05
Canada: 5147234000 (Montreal); 18662773553 (outside Montreal)
Finland: 010 195 202
Hong Kong: +852 2382 0000
New Zealand: 045861048
South Africa: 0514445691
United Kingdom: 08457909090
Thanks to the International Bipolar Foundation for this list!
We've created resources designed to help you assess and begin to deal with this specific issue. We have a free community area that gives you access to guide sheets relating to the topics discussed in this blog. Check out our free community resource area to access downloadable PDF guide sheets for this blog and much more:
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