You Are Not Alone

Artistic color pencil drawing of man sitting facing away. - 7/09/2019

If you experience depression, you are not alone.

According to the World Health Organization depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages experience depression — women are twice as likely — and one in five people with depression will attempt suicide.  

Depression is a disease. You may first recognize it when you suddenly have no desire to do the things you once enjoyed. Depression leaves you feeling deflated, but it can be treated. Know the symptoms, risk factors and options for help to live your best life.  

Symptoms:

  • Emotional – Lack of interest, no motivation, trouble making decisions, irritability, excessive worrying, memory problems
  • Physical – Fatigue, sleep issues (too much or too little), weight fluctuations, aches and pains, heart palpitations, headaches
  • Behavioral – Uncontrollable crying, anger outbursts, isolation from loved ones, substance abuse, self-harm, considering or attempting suicide

Risk factors:

  • Genetics 
  • Stress 
  • Brain structure
  • Chemical brain function
  • Medications
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Hormone changes
  • Seasons
  • Postpartum

If you believe you are experiencing depression, meet with a behavioral health professional who can determine your best course of action. He or she may recommend medication, talk therapy or both. Be prepared to answer a few questions about current medications, medical history, moods, behaviors, current life events and daily activities.

An effective plan may include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT or talk therapy) which aims to change the thoughts and behaviors that are contributing to your depression. If CBT is complemented by medications, expect to give an antidepressant a few weeks to reach its maximum level of benefit. Then follow up with your provider to discuss its effectiveness.

A few things you can do on your own include:

  • Physical activity that releases endorphins to help improve mood, sleep and energy levels
  • Pets that provide unconditional love and relieve loneliness 
  • Social support through a book club, sports team, or class

Professional help:

Crisis help:

  • Call 911 if you feel suicidal.
  • Text "GULF" to 741741 if you are experiencing a crisis. 
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800.273.8255 for resources.         
  • Contact the Lakeview Center Mobile Response Team at 866.517.7766 if you are someone you know is experiencing a crisis.

Remind yourself that there is light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of people are fighting a similar battle, and you deserve to enjoy the benefits of effective treatment.