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Friday, November 9, 2007

Depression: What Can You Do?

Many in our blog community are aware of a friend who is suffering and offering their supportive messages. I find it heartwarming to see people rally around someone we are concerned about. I'll say it again...Internet friends become very special to us and the bonds we form are REAL.

I wanted to go a step further besides my private message to my friend, by offering this post to someone who may be suffering in silence or think they may be depressed and how we can help.

Understanding Depression:
First let me say that depression is not something you can 'snap' out of. Depression is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals. Like any serious medical condition, it needs to be treated. To fight depression, you need to understand it.

To many, depression can feel like:
* constant feelings of sadness, irritability, or tension
* decreased interest or pleasure in usual activities or hobbies
* loss of energy, feeling tired despite lack of activity
* a change in appetite, with significant weight loss or weight gain
* a change in sleeping patterns, such as difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
* restlessness or feeling slowed down
* decreased ability to make decisions or concentrate
* feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
* thoughts of suicide or death

Symptoms vary, but if you feel down for more than two weeks and interfering with daily life, then you may be clinically depressed.

If you are in an immediate serious crisis, please contact your doctor or go to your local hospital or emergency room.

Depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves.

Depression can have many causes. Family history, trauma or stress, pessimistic personality, physical conditions, or other disorders.

What you can do if you are suffering:
1) See your doctor for treatment
2) Set realistic goals: you may feel overwhelmed by everything you should do, so focus on small goals to ease yourself back into your routine. Don't be too hard on yourself
3) Do what you enjoy
4) Hold off on major decisions
5) Avoid alcohol
6) Exercise
7) Get support

When you learn someone you care about is suffering from depression, what can you do?
1) Learn about depression, so you have a better idea what that person may be experiencing.
2) Do what you can to have that person seek medical care. Bring them to their doctor if needed
3) Be supportive and patient
4) Without being overly pushy, try getting that person to do what they enjoy. See friends, go to a movie, take a walk
5) People who feel depressed often resist attempts to be helped. Don't give up
6) If a person is talking of harming themselves or having thoughts of suicide, do not ignore it.

Source: www.depression.com


Robin Lee Sardini said...

Thank you for sharing such valuable information at this critical time.
I believe this will hit home for many people.

AC Associates said...

Hi Robin,
I hope it does help someone. I think people suffer in silence and may be embarrassed by the way they feel, as in being depressed.
We all need the help of someone at some point in our lives.

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