I have to share that for the last few months I thought I was depressed. I had just given birth to my third child, moved across country to a place I was less than excited about, and basically had to single parent because of my husband’s job. I was feeling secluded, helpless, and sad. I was spending my days crying, wallowing, and thinking about what I could have had instead of looking at what was right in front of me. I felt miserable. I wanted a way out of my situation and needed to figure out how to make things better. My emotions were all over the place. My youngest was 2 months old when we arrived in our new state of temporary residence. I felt like I was drowning with responsibilities with no one to turn to for relief. I wasn’t sure if I was experiencing postpartum depression or what I was feeling. I was confused. There are depression red flags to look for.
Being a military wife is extremely challenging and I feel like this move to Texas was the most difficult for me. In the past, I was able to put a smile on and try to get through the transitions, but this move was not the same as before. I was experiencing a lot of hormones from having a baby and I felt like I was trapped. I was talking to my husband and my mom about the feelings I was experiencing and had even talked about getting help. Here’s the thing… I was afraid to tell my primary care provider. I was afraid to seek help because I didn’t know what getting help would look like. I wanted to stay in control. I am not a doctor and yet I was making myself my own primary care provider.
It wasn’t until I took the survey on depression through Med-IQ and read information on this common disorder that I saw I was not depressed. It is so wild to have been approached to write on depression through my blog while I thought I was experiencing it. What are the odds that I would be approached to write with Med-IQ on this very common brain disorder? I had no idea how common depression was until I started to read the information I was given by medical professionals. Through taking the survey and reading the symptoms, I found that I was grieving and not experiencing depression. I never would have known if I didn’t seek out answers to what I was feeling at the time.
I want you to know that while I did not experience depression, it is common and you are not alone. My experience brought me to speak out on depression to gain awareness, because I found it to be a topic that is not discussed enough.
I urge you to take the survey at the end of this post. If you think you are experiencing depression or know a loved one who might be, share this link with them so they can gain knowledge on depression and get help if they need it.
3 things to know about depression:
- Depression is common, you’re not alone.
- Depression is a brain disorder, not a personal failing.
- There are treatment options available.
What is depression?
- Depression is a serious medical condition characterized by feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can negatively influence the way you think, feel, and act.
- Depression affects about 1 in 15 adults each year, and 1 out of every 6 people experience depression at some point in their life.
- Women tend to have higher rates of depression than men; as many as 1 out of every 3 women experience depression in their lifetime.
What causes depression?
Depression is a biological brain disorder; it is a medical condition, like diabetes or high blood pressure are medical conditions. Depression can impact anyone; it does not discriminate.
People who have depression do not always have an outwardly obvious reason to feel sad. Although negative life circumstances certainly may play a role in depression, researchers have identified a number of other risk factors.
Depression risk factors:
- Brain chemistry
- Environment (regular exposure to violence, poverty, or abuse)
- Genetics (something for parents to be aware of if they suffer from depression)
- Personality and drug or alcohol abuse.
Red flags/symptoms to look for if you are concerned about yourself or a loved one:
- Not everyone who suffers from depression will have thesame experience.
- Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include feelings of
- loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- changes in sleep patterns (too much or too little)
- unintended weight gain or loss
- fatigue or difficulty concentrating
- increased feelings of worthlessness
- hopelessness or entertaining thoughts that life is not worth living
- An important distinguishing point in the blues vs. depression is that the feeling of hopelessness is not part of feeling “the blues.”
- Those with PTSD have higher rates of anxiety, are more irritable, and have more difficulty sleeping. PTSD often travels together with depression.
American Psychiatric Association criteria for depression:
There is treatment for depression (there are steps you can take to help manage your depression):
Primary care physicians have become the front line for treatment. Encourage your community not to be afraid to get help. By openly talking about depression as it is – a medical condition – we can help dispel stigmatization around the disease. An important point to consider when encouraging someone to seek help is that if they want to function optimally in their daily life, that requires treatment if they are suffering from depression.
The survey will take less than 10 minutes. Upon completion, you will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. No personal information will be kept, sold, or stored in the survey completion process. Upon completion of the survey, you need to email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that you have taken the survey to be entered to win a VISA gift card.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All my opinions are my own.
These links are being provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only; they are not intended and should not be construed as legal or medical advice, nor are they endorsements of any healthcare provider or practice. Med-IQ bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality, or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.