The Truth About Depression

One basic truth about depression is that people can’t stop being depressed, it is an illness and can’t just be snapped out of and can only be treated with the help of a mental health professional. Before diving into this topic, let’s get to understand what Mental Health is. WHO defined Mental Health as a ‘state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ And so, what is depression?

Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. Early detection of the signs of depression would help in preventing worsening issues resulting from this illness. It is true and popular that going through something particularly rough, such as a breakup, death of a loved one, watching your parents get divorced, exam failures can lead to depression, but things like that are not the only causes of the problem. Depression can be caused by physical problems, feeling abandoned or isolated, being verbally or physically abused, drug abuse or misuse, financial problems and even Family history (genetics). Funny enough but not too funny, depression may not have an obvious cause and sometimes may be caused by chemical imbalances.

Another truth is that depression respects nobody; Presidents of Countries also get depressed. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States of America experienced Clinical Depression; the chronic end of depression which requires serious professional treatment. The cause of Thomas Jefferson’s depression was majorly the loss of his beloved wife, Martha, who died after her last pregnancy at the early age of 33. It is said that following his wife’s death, Jefferson stayed in his room for three weeks and ventured out only to join his daughter on all rides on horseback. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression. It doesn’t matter if you are smart or strong mentally, emotionally, or physically. It also doesn’t matter how old you are or what gender, depression can affect anyone.
Don’t be scared by the last statement, let’s get optimistic. Another Truth is that some personal characteristics can help keep depression at bay. You reduce your chances of being depressed if you keep an optimistic outlook, are a good problem solver, have high self-esteem, have close personal relationships with people who can provide you support, and getting involved in your school or community activities. It’s important to remember that all of that won’t mean you never get depressed. It just means you are less likely to.

The Truth is that feeling so sad or unhappy is a part of life. Also, a part of growing up and being grown up. Life always goes up and down no matter your age. Despite that, depression is a lot more than just feeling sad. Depression is being so miserable that it impacts your daily life and affects your ability to function normally, let’s just understand that it is an illness which can be Chronic or Mild. It is like having a flu or diabetes. It needs to be treated as soon as it is recognised.

The most effective depression treatment is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT). This simply involves taking your negative thoughts, and making them positive. Let’s take for example, the thoughts or feeling that you aren’t beautiful enough for “that” guy, and as simple as it sounds, you begin replacing it with thoughts of you being miss world, or thoughts that you aren’t bold or good enough to speak to a crowd and replacing it with a thought of you standing just like Malcom X speaking to a mammoth crowd, that’s a positive one. CBT helps in how we should respond on what goes on in our life, but there are still cases where you need medication to correct chemical imbalances.
Other treatments for depression are:
 Medications: brain chemistry can be a factor leading to depression, the use of Antidepressant has been prescribed for modification of brain chemistry and produce improvements in this illness.

Psycho-therapy: which simply means ‘talk therapy’ can be used for treatment of mild depression and sometimes used alongside medications, psycho-therapy can be done individually or can be done among couples. Here is where couples-therapy come in play as it helps in problem solving and building good communication skills in a relationship.

Group-therapy: helps individuals in interacting and socializing skills and also helps an individual create self-awareness by listening to others with similar conditions.

Exercising: is known for the production of endorphins in the body, and endorphins are hormones known for improving a person’s mood, about 30-60 minute of exercise for about 3-5 days should be aimed at.

Coping mechanism: here an individual would need to find ways of coping with the condition, based on lifestyle, physical health activities, preferences, working with your mental health team in finding ways or strategies that works fruitfully and feels fit for you. There are also various  ways or techniques  in preventing Depression. This techniques are:

  • Maintaining treatment
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Avoiding negative people
  • Getting enough time for rest and sleep
  • Reducing stress and
  • Maintaining good relationship with others

Finally, talking to your friends and family can help you deal with the regular ups and downs of life, but it’s not enough to treat depression. Depression requires professional help. Consult your doctor, school counsellor, or an adult you trust about the choices you have.

Contributed By: Alfred Ajileye


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