What is joyful noise to you? The sound of laughter, excitement, love making, music, dancing to a beat, the sound of children. To me all this is joyful noise however not everyone in life can enjoy these simple pleasures.
Depression is something we might all feel at some time in our lives. It can be from a relationship issue such as cheating or divorce to the loss of someone we love who has died, to abuse and bullying, business issues and more. It generally is a feeling of sadness or an unexplained low. It can also be an all consuming illness with serous side effects and even death due to suicide. A mood disorder it can affect how you think and feel as well have an impact on sleeping, eating or working.
There are different types of depression those that are persistent and don’t go away or those that last for a short period of time 2 weeks or more and affect your daily activities.
I experienced prenatal depression when my daughter was born. She was 6 weeks premature and she had to spend many weeks in a humicrib. I didn’t even know what I had and it was not diagnosed by the doctors. I was short with my husband and would cry quite often and for no special reason. I did not want to see any of the family and just wanted to spend every waking moment with my baby holding her tiny hand through a hole in this plastic looking crib. Eventually it passed but I never forgot the feelings I went through.
At the other end of the spectrum are those that suffer a debilitating form of depression known as psychotic depression, where they may have hallucinations, hearing and seeing things others do not. They may also suffer delusions think of the movie with Robin Williams ‘The Fisher King”. Wikipedia explains the movie in the following terms- “Jack Lucas, a narcissistic, misanthropic shock jock, becomes suicidally despondent after his insensitive on-air comments inadvertently prompt an unstable caller to commit a mass murder suicide at a Manhattan restaurant. Three years later, Jack is working for his girlfriend Anne in a video store in a mostly drunken, depressed state. One night while on a bender, he attempts suicide. Before he can do so, he is mistaken for a homeless person and is attacked and nearly set on fire by thugs. He is rescued by Parry, a deluded homeless man who is on a mission to find the Holy Grail and tries to convince Jack to help him. Jack is initially reluctant, but comes to feel responsible for Parry when he learns that the man’s condition is a result of witnessing his wife’s death during the earlier mass murder. Parry is also continually haunted by a hallucinatory red knight, who terrifies him”.
Additionally there is another type of depression called SAD – seasonal affective disorder that comes and goes. I was listening to someone who had experienced a tsunami in Thailand and at certain times of the year or when they hear of a tsunami in another part of the world the memories come flooding back.
Other depressive conditions include premenstrual depression, bipolar disorder formally known as manic depressive and dysregulation disorder that is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents.
What causes depression?
A combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Sadness is only one small part of depression but different people have different symptoms. Some symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Depression can affect people in different ways. For example, women may exhibit more depression than men due to hormonal or biological factors whereas men may be more angry, irritable, tired, lose interest in things and not sleep well. Children or adolescents on the other hand may display signs of not wanting to go to school, being irritable, substance abuse, anxiety or eating disorders.
How is depression treated?
Getting the right advice from a professional is the first step to treating this disorder. It maybe as simple as going to a counsellor/psychologist and talking to them, through to having psychotherapy or medications and in severe cases more drastic solutions.
How can you help someone who is depressed?
- Be understanding, offer support, encouragement and show patience
- Be aware of the implications of them being suicidal and try and get them and yourself help
- Engage them in activities and get them out of being isolated
- Work with them to stay on a treatment plan
- Support at appointments
Depression can be seen as a negative if severe however sometimes we go through a depressive state and come out the other end of the tunnel with a new lease of life and motivated to start all over again. Never give up as eventually things do change.
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