As cliche as it sounds, depression is like seeing the world without color. It’s as if you’re just going through life on autopilot mode. Like you’ve dug a hole beneath the ground and you don’t know how to get out. The reality is that depression comes in different ways, duration, and depth depending on who it is that is experiencing it. In some cases, some of you don’t even know that what you’re going through or how you’re taking on your life is already depression as it is.
According to the World Health Organization (2021), depression is a common mental disorder and the leading cause of disability worldwide, which is why each person needs to know and understand what depression is.
What is Depression?
Depression is different from the common mood swings and fleeting emotional responses you have to circumstances in your daily life (WHO, 2021). According to the American Psychiatric Association (2020), depression is a serious medical condition that has an adverse impact on a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior. It’s often the feeling of loss of interest in what you previously enjoyed. The numerous mental and physical health issues that come with experiencing depression can affect most if not all aspects of your life including your performance in the workplace and at home (APA, 2020).
Depression is Not Just Sadness
The common misconception about depression is that when one is feeling a little down or sad they start to assume and say that “I’m depressed” which belittles the depth and gravity of depression. The difference between depression from sadness is that depression is a recurring problem, rather than a momentary one. As mentioned by Medical News Today (2022), “[d]epression frequently lasts throughout a change in circumstances and results in feelings that are strong, persistent, and out of proportion to a person's situation.” It's a significant change from the norm in every aspect of your personality and lifestyle.
From the scientific aspect, major depressive disorder is the most common type of depression (MNT, 2022). Almost all other forms of depression, including this one, have symptoms that last for at least two (2) weeks and sometimes much longer (Cleveland Clinic, 2020). When you are depressed, your symptoms may last for weeks, months, or even years. There is a possibility of recovering from depression but also relapsing into it, so it doesn't just go away.
Don’t Dig Yourself a Hole
Depression is like being in a dark hole, as the majority, if not all, know and describe it. A person’s emotional and physical health is already affected by depression; if this condition is not treated, these consequences will become much more severe. It's as if you are just making yourself comfortable or digging yourself into a progressively deeper hole of depression with inadequate information and treatment of symptoms. Once you’ve developed a "home" in that hole, escaping it is the biggest challenge you could ever face since doing so would require facing all of your emotions and feelings.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Although there are many different types of depression and their severity can range from mild to severe, the Cleveland Clinic, APA, and MNT identify the following as some of the most common symptoms and side effects on your psychological and physical health.
Persistent depressed mood — Feeling sad, hopeless, and/or worried
Loss of interest and/or pleasure in hobbies and activities (once enjoyed)
Change in appetite and body weight (unrelated to dieting)
Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
Decreased energy or (increased) Fatigue
Excessive feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
Being easily irritated or frustrated
Difficulty in concentrating, remembering things, and/or making decisions
Increase in agitated movements — Inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing
Slowed movements or speech (must be severe enough to be observable by others)
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
In some cases, others also feel physical symptoms such as:
MNT (2022) states that “if a person experiences five or more of these symptoms during the same 2-week period, a doctor may diagnose them with depression.”
Getting Out of The Hole
Now that you are informed on what depression is, how serious it is, and what its symptoms are, you can also know that it is treatable. The following are some depression treatments:
Self-help: Putting yourself first and caring for physical and mental health will prevent depression symptoms from becoming worse (e.g., exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, eating properly, having a work-life balance, spending time with family and friends)
Support: It may be easier to deal with the weight and consider further solutions and the proper support you may need if you seek guidance and assistance from people you trust in your life.
Counseling / Psychotherapy: You could best describe the way you are feeling if you have symptoms diagnosed. The best course of action is to seek professional assistance, which is what you ought to do. Professionals could assist in addressing troubles, obtaining healthy coping mechanisms, and acting as a foundation for any additional and better treatment.
Medication: Once a medical professional has made a diagnosis, you could be given a prescription for pharmaceuticals, like antidepressants. Although it needs time to take effect, it would help alter the brain chemistry that causes depression. It is important to visit a provider if any serious side effects occur because their effects may vary depending on the individual.
Seeking help serves as a stepping stone in having a better quality of life, and we at Fidecita wish you the best on your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.
American Psychiatric Association. (2020). What Is Depression? https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
Cleveland Clinic. (2020). Depression.
Medical News Today. (2022). What is depression and what can I do about it? Medical News Today.
World Health Organization. (2021). Depression. World Health Organization: WHO. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression