With our crazy schedules and hectic jobs, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with everything.
From finding time to take the car in to get serviced, to remembering to pick up the drycleaning on my way home, these past several days have been extra long for me on top of working back to back 12 hour shifts in the hospital. With everything going on, I can see how easy it can be to fall into a mental rut filled with worry, apprehension and depression with all the things not done on your To-Do list….with all the pressures imposed on you at work and at home to accomplish extraordinary tasks….with your need to do all things for everyone—except yourself.
Depression is a disease that is so hard to recognize because it usually takes weeks to months and even years to be diagnosed. It can start slowly after you’ve suffered a significant loss in your life….the death of a child, of a parent, of a spouse or another loved one and it can even occur after a tremendous “gain” like the birth of a new child. Disbelief, denial and sadness are all part of the grieving process which can last for weeks to months. However, you have to be extremely careful not to mistaken prolonged grief for depression.
When you’re grieving, you’re mourning the loss of something particular—there’s an object of your grief—it could be a mother who died of heart disease or a stillborn child who did not survive delivery.
But with depression, your whole outlook on life is turned upside down. Here are some common signs of depression—see if you recognize any of them in you or someone you know—-
- You can’t seem to get or stay interested in anything anymore.
- You have trouble falling asleep or find yourself waking up in the early morning hours.
- Your world view has changed—you no longer see the glass half full but everything is half empty or running on empty.
- You don’t enjoy doing the things you used to do.
- Your appetite has changed.
- You’ve gained or lost weight.
- You’ve lost the energy and drive you once had—now it takes you all day to get a single task completed like doing a load of laundry.
- You have trouble concentrating or making decisions.
- Family and friends may have commented that you’ve changed…that you seem sad all the time.
- You feel hopeless or worthless.
- You may even think that the world would be better off if you no longer existed.
Depression is a real disease that needs real treatment. Some of my patients with depression think that they can handle their depression on their own…that it’s all in their mind and if I just give them some time, they’ll get their mind together and “out of that funk.” But what I tell them and what I’m telling you is that treating depression requires the same attention and commitment as treating heart disease. Both the doctor and the patient need to be involved in the treatment process.
And yes! Depression is treatable. But let me warn you….treating depression means more than just taking medication.
When you’re undergoing treatment for depression you NEED to be under the close supervision of a physician to monitor your response to treatment.
Because….in the early stages of treatment your risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide are very high. That means when you start on medication you need to be in close contact with your prescribing physician and alert them if you experience any thoughts of death or suicide.
Depression is common….and it’s treatable….you just know how to recognize the signs of depression and get the treatment you need.
To your wellness,
The Health and Wellness Queen