Friday, 20 April 2012

Lets Talk About: Depression

Disclaimer: I was requested to write this post by a follower experiencing similar things, I thought long and hard before finally taking the plunge. I've put a lot of effort into ensuring this post is PC, informative and helpful yet also personal. This is not written to seek attention, positive or negative, I simply want to help anyone going through similar things to what I did. If you have any negative comments, please email them to me directly (thisdystopia13@googlemail.com) rather than leaving them in the comment section where it may upset any of my followers. As a psychology student and sufferer, I like to think myself as fairly knowledgeable in this area, however as always what works for some people may not work for others in terms of treatment. Thank you for reading.




The Facts


Statistics:

  1. 18.8 Million adults in America will experience Depression in a given year.
  2. In Australia it has been suggested that everyone will experience depression at some point in their lives. Either in themselves or in people they know.
  3. Its estimated that 80% of depression sufferers are NOT getting treatment.
  4. 41% of women depressives are too embarrassed to ask or help.
  5. 15% of people with depression will commit suicide.
  6. By 2020, depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease.
Causes:

A common misconception is that people NEED a cause to have depression. Sometimes it can hit someone from out of the blue, or perhaps the causes are more underlying than may be obvious. However some situational factors can lead to depression. Here are a few:
  • Loneliness 
  • Trauma (I.e. loss of loved one)
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • financial strain
  • Childhood trauma
  • Lack of social support
Our biology can also be a cause of depression, for instance it may run in a family, or perhaps someone is very ill which causes them to become depressed.


Symptoms:

WARNING: These are to be taken with a pinch of salt. Mental disorders manifest in everybody differently due to individual differences. If you suspect you may have depression talk to your doctor. People may also display these symptoms without being depressed. Factors such as a bad week may cause these symptoms without causing depression. These symptoms should be seen as constant and over a long period of time.

  • you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
  • you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
  • you feel hopeless and helpless
  • you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
  • you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
  • you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)

Treatments:

  1. Talking to people (counselor, peer, family member)
  2. Making changes in lifestyle (eating healthily/doing more exercise)
  3. Anti-depressants or other medications (i.e. St Johns Wort)
As with most things, cures for depression aren't immediate or even effective for everyone. Talking to a doctor can help decide which path is best for you.



My Story:

I couldn't tell you when or why I became depressed. I've always been a more emotional person, than my peers. In 2005 after starting high school and being bullied, I developed a panic reflex where my throat would tighten and constrict whenever I got worried. This was sorted out in 2006 when I had a few sessions of craniopathy. My friends still know very little of this ordeal. In fact I only vaguely name it 'my throat thing' to avoid having to go into details.

Then, in 2009 during my GCSEs I developed an anxiety problem. Whenever I would get anxious or worried, my stomach would cramp up and rumble really loudly, as if I hadn't eaten in days. I tried drinking peppermint tea, taking tablets for stomach knots and taking anxiety tablets before it got so bad I started to have panic attacks alongside the stomach problems. I mentioned as little as I could get away with to my friends because I was so embarrassed. when asked I would mumble something about a 'stomach thing...' Eventually, the school decided I should do my GCSEs in a separate room, with only a few people to avoid panic attacks during this crucial stage. Eventually I had Hypnotherapy which rid me of this 'stomach problem.' 

However things came to a head in the Summer of 2010. I was erratic, out of character and would cry myself to sleep most nights. I couldn't find an explanation for my behaviour, so I kept my feelings to myself, expecting people to dub me as 'mad' if I told them. However my Mum had noticed and when I went on holiday with a pal to stay with another friend in Switzerland, my Mum asked them to see if they noticed anything too. One night an incident occurred over Facebook with some friends who were on a World Challenge in Borneo for the month. I flew off the handle, sobbing uncontrollably and saying things that didn't even make sense. This was when I realised properly, something wasn't right with me and I needed help. 

When I returned home things only got worse. The tiniest of things would cause me to fly into a rage, trashing my bedroom, hurting myself (namely scratching the sides of my face until they bled) and crying uncontrollably. One time I was in such a fit of upset that I ran out bare foot onto my driveway and lay in the pouring rain until my Mum found me, still in my work uniform, wet, cold and crying. Mum took me to the Doctor who diagnosed me as depressed. The diagnosis terrified me but I was convinced it could only get better from there. For 6 months I had weekly counselling sessions until January 2011 when I was convinced everything was better. My mood had improved, I had stop over reacting as badly and I no longer cried myself to sleep every night. 

However in August 2011 depression came back with avengance. This time I was erratic or uncontrollable. I didn't trash my room or hurt myself, but I felt empty, lonely and like I was stuck at the bottom of a black hole that I couldn't get out of. This time I hid my feelings more carefully from everyone. I didn't want to scare anyone or upset my family by thinking they hadn't helped first time round. However, eventually I returned to the doctors where I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety. For a day or too I held my tongue but realised I needed my family if I was to get through it again. Once it was out in the open, I returned to the doctors and was put on 20mg Fluoxetine tablets, which I still take to this day. 

Where I am at the moment is the best place I've been in a long long time.  Of course I still have low days but they are few and far between. I can keep a cool head in situations which would've left me hysterical before and I haven't cried myself to sleep in a very very long time. 


Please, if you suspect you may be suffering from depression, DON'T suffer alone. 

Support sites:

If you are ever feeling down or alone, please don't hesitate to email me if you would like to talk to someone who understands. (thisdystopia13@googlemail.com)

Many people still don't view depression as a 'proper' illness. Even people I know personally don't believe depression is real or serious. Some stats suggest that up to 52% of people view depression as a 'personal weakness' rather than a disease. We need to change this outdated, old fashioned view and EDUCATE people on the cause, signs and treatments for depression. If everyone is more knowledgeable, more people can be helped. Please click here to tweet about this post and help spread awareness. 



Thank you for taking the time to read this, together we can spread awareness.


Amy x
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