By Ali Mariani
Depression is an invisible illness. This can mean that a person suffering depression can appear totally “normal” on the outside. Depression comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Depression can be your next-door neighbor who is a Pediatrician, it can be the valedictorian of your class, it can be your High School Psychology teacher, or it could be your sibling or parent. Depression does not discriminate; it can happen to anyone and at any point in his or her life.
What are some things that put someone at a higher risk for developing Depression?
- A recent traumatic event including a car accident, the loss of a family member, the loss of a job, etc. A traumatic event can put someone at a higher risk for developing Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Family history of Depression. Depression can be, in part, biological and can be passed down in families.
- A recent break-up, move, change, or transition. Changes are difficult for a lot of us. Changes can be harder on some than others and can lead to depression and/or Adjustment Disorders.
- Extended periods of isolation. Extended periods of isolation from friends, family, and others can put someone at a higher risk for depression.
- Seasonal change. Most people often slow down in the wintertime, but someone who struggles with depression may slow down a lot. They may have a hard time doing day-to-day tasks and even getting out of bed.
- Chronic Diseases and/or Medical Issues. People with chronic illnesses can often develop depression.
The above listed are called risk factors. If you or someone you know have one of the risk factors, this doesn’t mean that you will develop Depression, it only means that you may be at a higher risk. For example, we all deal with seasonal changes in New England, but only some develop Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
What are some of the symptoms of Depression?
- Changes in sleep patterns. Either more sleep or less sleep.
- Changes in eating patterns. Overeating or losing an appetite.
- Irritable or restless mood. Irritability is often overlooked but can be a common symptom of depression.
- Loss of Interest in hobbies. When an individual stops doing the activities that they love, it can be a symptom of depression.
- Sense of hopelessness. This can look like a sense of defeat or a loss of motivation. An individual who is hopeless might say something like “There’s no use,” “I’m no good anyways,” or “What’s the point?”
- Low self-esteem. Someone who is depressed might express low-self esteem. They might say things like “I never do anything right,” “I am so stupid,” or “I am the worst.”
If you or someone you know feels that they may be suffering Depression, talk to a trusted friend, teacher, or professional. There is help. You are not alone.
Here is a quick survey you can take to see if you might be dealing with depression:
If you find that you think you are struggling with depression, what can you do?
- Seek out a professional therapist
- Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or adult about it
- Call a close friend who you trust to discuss options
- If you are feeling suicidal, call one of the following hotlines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone Number