Identifying Depression

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Sadly in this day and age, depression is something that still isn’t talked about enough and generally can go untreated for long periods of time.  This is mostly because of the stigma surrounding it that it makes most people feel like they’re weak or unable to cope, when in fact all they need is some help.

Portrait of Man Looking Through WindowI’ve been somewhat open about my own depression over the past year or so, and have written about it a couple times – mostly in the posts It’s Depressing To Feel Nothing and Eight Ways to Actively Fight Depression | Psychology Today.

But after recent events and viewing a video embedded into the article How Do You Know If You Have Depression? on Upworthy (video is at the bottom of the page), it got me thinking back on that period of time, as well as looking closer to my current situation.

As I’ve written recently, I’ve been going through a bad bout of insomnia lately, mostly caused by recurrent headaches that don’t seem to want to go away despite everything I’ve been doing.  I’d been feeling better over the past weekend, well enough to get out of the house, hang out with a friend on Saturday evening, and just seemingly get back to me.

But come Sunday night the throbbing in my head came back with a vengeance, and I ended up not sleeping at all that night… Meaning I was in no shape to go back to work on Monday.

All through the previous week while I was off work ‘sick’ with these issues, I hadn’t bothered to contact my doctor to seek help, as I thought I was doing everything they would have suggested.  But because I was still like this after a week, I finally broke down and called the surgery I’m registered at, and was able to book a phone consultation.

I was totally expecting the doctor that called me to suggest making an in-person appointment in order to get to the root of the problem, but instead we spoke on the phone for about 5 to 10 minutes before he said he was going to sign me off work for a week and give me a prescription to help me sleep.

frydrepressionNow I’m glad he made it fairly easy for me to get something to help me sleep, but at the same time I wonder if perhaps it was too easy.  Shouldn’t a prescription only be given out once all other non-drug avenues have been attempted?

But what surprised me is he didn’t prescribe me sleeping pills or even headache tablets – instead he prescribed me a mild anti-depressant.

That’s what got me wondering if perhaps this was just a depressive period I’m going through, and that the headaches/insomnia are the markers that should make me take notice.  It was something a mate had mentioned to me the precious week, but I hadn’t given it much thought.

I admit that things in my life aren’t where I’d like them to be, but I am trying to find a way past where I am and get somewhere better.  It won’t be easy or instantaneous, but I have to at least make the effort.

I would have thought that because I’d made a conscious effort to look for a new job and work more on my writing, that any stress or anxiety I might have been feeling about my life would become more manageable or become less of an issue.  But instead, I’m sitting at home all week trying to make myself feel ‘better’ when I should be out there living life, not locked inside my house tapping away at my laptop.

I’m not saying I feel depressed or anything, but perhaps it’s for the best that I’m on this medication at the moment as maybe it’ll help me regain my focus and move forward with what I want to do in my life.

Every case of depression is different, and it’s not always about feeling ‘sad’ or physically depressed.  It could be a feeling of emptiness, an overall anxiety about life, an ennui where you don’t want to do anything at all.  Or it could be related to low self-esteem, where you feel like you’re not competent or a worthwhile human being, or even actually liking yourself as a person.

I’m not saying everyone who feels those things are depressed, because if that was the case then pretty much every single person would be considered ‘depressed’ at some point in their life.  And some may say depression is a ‘selfish disorder’ because you’re completely focused on how bad you’re feeling or the negative thoughts you’re having.  Because you are not being there for those around you who may need you.

get over itBut apparently two thirds of those who do actually suffer from depression don’t actually seek treatment, or aren’t willing to accept that they need help.  And that isn’t good.

If you feel something is not right, then go talk to someone about it.  It doesn’t have to be a doctor or mental health professional, but at least be willing to open up to someone about what’s going on.  It can be very cathartic.

Please watch the video below, as it definitely puts a different light on depression.. or at least it did for me.

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2 thoughts on “Identifying Depression

  1. I think you’re right to talk about it Martin. Firstly, as an outlet for your feelings in a therapeutic way and secondly, because it will help others who are suffering silence. I am one of those two thirds that haven’t sought help. I’m a stubborn bastard. But also I have mechanisms and my music and writing to our my feelings into. Personally I believe holistic methods are a much better route than pills. Pills may help in the short term but they are a quick fix that don’t work in the long term. I know this from other friends who have been on medication that has not helped them at all. Trust yourself and find a doctor or therapist that will only out you on meds as a last resort

    • Thanks Mark. I prefer holistic methods as well, but sometimes it just gets too much and you need a bit more help. I don’t think I’m particularly ‘depressed’ at the moment, more dissatisfied and wishing things would change. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

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