Depression: I Need Help Now

January 1, 2017 208 18 No Comments


Depression: I Need Help Now

Who does depression affect?

Like any other illnesses, depression can affect anyone regardless of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. 6.7 percent of the US population has this debilitating disorder and is more often than not something that is suffered in silence. Thus, depression brings with it a certain amount of shame and stigma.

What is depression?

There are many types of depression, but the first thing you must know is that it is a highly common illness and is not at all a sign of weakness. Depression affects the way you work, the way you eat, and even the way you sleep and talk and it can present itself at any point in your lifetime. Depression may also be caused by certain triggers in your life; however symptoms must be present for at least two weeks to be diagnosed accurately.

What types of depression are there?

  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD or formerly known as dysthymia):

– Lasts for at least two years and often people suffer severe symptoms at some points and reduced symptoms at others.

  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder:

– Severe and persistent irritability marked with aggressive verbal and behavioral outbursts.

  • Major depressive disorder:

– Symptoms need to be present for at least two weeks. They are characterized by depressed moods, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, change in appetite, feelings of hopelessness, sleep changes, decreased in energy, changes in psychomotor abilities, and more.

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder:

 – A clinically extreme version of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can include extreme debilitating symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability, and dysphoria around the time of a woman’s period cycle.

  • Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder:

            – Characterized by symptoms of a depressive disorder that last more than the length of substance-induced physiological effects.

How do I know if I have depression?

Your body will give you signs to recognize when something is wrong with you. Listen to your body and know when you need help. Some people may experience most of these symptoms while others may only experience a few:

  • Constantly feeling sad or empty
  • Hopelessness or “glass half empty” feeling
  • Irritability
  • Guilt and worthlessness
  • Loss of fondness for activities (can be sport related, work related, etc.)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Constant fatigue regardless of sleep
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions (as well as executing decisions)
  • Memory loss
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempt
  • Body/headaches with no reasonable cause and which do not improve with treatment 

Can I stop my depression before it starts?

As a fellow sufferer of depression, my wish is to say yes, you can avoid depression before it ever starts. Personal experience dictates otherwise, as stated above, depression can be caused by many triggers. These experiences can include personal trauma such as the death of a family member, a relationship ending, a physical injury and even rehabilitating from physical accidents or surgery. While you may not be able to stop your depression before it starts, you have many tools in this modern age to help shorten your experience with depression.

Does depression affect only me?

Fortunately, no! Depression can affect anyone you come in contact with. Imagine yourself in a room full of people who are comfortable and talking freely while being the only person who has nothing to say, or the person everyone needs to be around, feeling alone even though everyone wants to be around you. If you are suffering from depression, your close friends and family members may have different reactions to your illness. Some may be sympathetic and offer advice while others may often be worried and ask how you are feeling, but there may be that small group of people who become angry and distant at your suffering. Never take any of these reactions personally. I know what you’re thinking, “easy for you to say,” and it is quite easy to say, but extremely hard to do. Personally, when it is too hard for me to follow my advice, I often tell myself, “I am the only one in my head, I am the only one who knows what I am feeling.” What this does for me is remind me that no matter what people say and do, they have no clue what I am feeling, and unless they care, they won’t stick around to help me through this disease at any rate.

Are there treatments available?

So many! Treatments can include individual therapy, group counseling, and support groups. You can also exercise more and eat a little healthier and set realistic day to day goals for yourself (ex. Today I will not go straight to bed when I get home). Find people that you can rely on and spend quality time with them, as well as family members who are supportive. Don’t make rash or significant decisions until treatment has progressed and you feel comfortable with your improvement. Also, postponing any life changing experiences (i.e. getting married, divorced, having kids, moving, changing jobs) while receiving treatment is recommended for optimal results. Most importantly remember that Rome was not built in a day, treatment takes time; it may be weeks or even months before you start seeing a change in yourself. Nonetheless, seeking help is the first step in overcoming your depression.

For more information on depression and how to cope with it, visit

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for immediate help.


Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2016, from

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders
(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

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