Things have changed. I feel sad, empty, and hopeless most of the day, almost every day. Most days, I would rather be alone than hanging out with my friends or family. There was a time where I used to enjoy playing sports and painting, but I don’t do it anymore. I’m so tired! Every night, I have a hard time getting to sleep and wake up easily. Then, I have a hard time getting back to sleep. In the morning, I feel exhausted and don’t feel like getting out of bed. It has been two months now. It feels like I am walking underwater with cement boots on and I can’t get to the surface.
I know everyone feels sad or low sometimes, but these feelings usually pass in time and have for me in the past. Right now, I just can’t get past these feelings.
Depression Doesn’t Always Look the Same
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov), depression affects different people in different ways. For example:
Women: The NIMH reports that women have depression more often than men. Biological, lifecycle and hormonal factors that are unique to women may be linked to their higher depression rate. Women typically report having symptoms of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt.
Men are more likely to be very tired, irritable, and sometimes angry. They may lose interest in work or activities they once enjoyed, have sleep problems, and behave recklessly, including the misuse of drugs or alcohol. Many men do not recognize their depression and don’t seek help.
Older adults may have less obvious symptoms, or they may be less likely to admit to feelings of sadness or grief. They are also more likely to have medical conditions, such as heart disease, which may cause or contribute to depression.
Children/Teens/Young Adults might get into trouble at school, sulk, and be irritable. Teens with depression might have symptoms of other disorders, such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse. They might pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Often people associate sadness with depression, which is true, but not all people who experience sadness have experienced depression. In fact, some may not feel sadness at all. Symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decrease in energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
How is depression treated?
For many seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist is enough to relieve the symptoms of depression. However, for others more personalized treatment will be needed. For those who medicate their depression with the use of drugs or alcohol, it is almost certain treatment will be needed as the problem is compounded. This cycle is hardly discussed in books or on informational websites.
The co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis is an attempt to find relief – to feel better. But so often “things” get worse and facing those things becomes unbearable which increases the depression. Sometimes the depression is so bad it requires the anesthetizing effects of the drug or alcohol use. That is the cycle.
Time out for treatment is needed. ASAP Rehab can help. There is hope. There is relief.