Do You Even Know What Depression Is?

[spacer height=”20px”] Okay let’s settle this once and for all, do you guys actually know what depression is? I’m not even joking, this is a question I posed on Twitter the other day and the responses were scary. I really don’t think some of us know what depression is and because of that we have a so many people say “I’m so depressed” because of one bad day. I’ll tell you what depression isn’t, it’s not:

  1. Having a bad day,
  2. Feeling sad; or
  3. Feeling tired.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what Depression really is. First things first, I’m going to need us all to understand that depression is not solely based on how you “feel”, depression is caused by a combination of things, biological, psychological and social sources of distress and the altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain. So, believe or not – depression is a medically diagnosed illness. It holds a lot more weight than being sad and requires a bit more help than “you’ll be fine”.

I, for one, have been depressed and it’s difficult to explain the feeling to someone without sounding dramatic. It’s a persistent feeling of sadness or loss that can affect you physically, like the loss of sleep, appetite, energy, concentration and most importantly self-esteem. If you’ve ever had someone close to you be depressed, you’ll know that leaving the house or even getting up is a real chore for them. I don’t want to belittle the fact that we all get sad sometimes and we have bad days, a bad week or even a bad year (that was 2016 for me, low and behold) but I need us all to not be ignorant and use the words “I’m so depressed” whenever and however, because there is someone out there who is really battling with this illness.

I think if we all actively educate ourselves on illnesses such as depression, the next generation of adults will have such a wholesome state of mental health because I know I sure didn’t. it took a lot of kicking and screaming for my black parents to understand and it’s the very same notion for a lot of us. We live amongst people who suffer from this illness and I don’t want you to have to see someone close to you hanging from a rope from the ceiling to know that it’s something serious. And before you get all hot and bothered, no one depressed is excited about sharing the fact that their depressed so that whole “you can talk to me about anything” phrase we use is useless when talking to someone who thinks dying is easier than waking up. I know we’re no specialists but there are a few symptoms:

      1. Mood – anxiety, apathy, discontent with basically everything, loss of interest, mood swings and loss of pleasure in activities.
      2. Sleep – early mornings, excess sleepiness, insomnia or just the general notion of being restless all the time.
      3. Body – hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite and energy.
      4. Behavioral – being agitated, crying all the time, very irritable and isolation in social settings.
      5. Weight – weight gain or weight loss.
      6. Cognitive – slowness in activity, suicidal thoughts or comments and lack of concentration.

    Its important to not be selective with these symptoms, so just because you’ve been feeling restless does not mean you have depression. Depression is a combination of all of these things or at least 2 or 3 from each category. I want to end of by saying, there are many ways in which you can help a friend or yourself.

    On my next piece, we’ll talk about ways to get help or help a friend.

    Yours in ✍🏾


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