Submitted by: Cathy
Anyone reading this ever miss your yearly mammogram? We all rush to the doctor when we come down with a physical ailment. For some reason though we make excuses or ignore signs that point to something being off kilter mentally.
The stigma attached to “mental illness,” results in unneeded suffering. We can admit when we have a physical illness but share the fact we are suffering from depression? Now way!
Below are a few facts about depression:
Depression is a serious medical illness; it’s not something that you make up in your head. It’s more than just feeling “down in the dumps” or “blue” for a few days. The symptoms of depression are much more severe and debilitating. Depression is characterized by feeling “down” and “low” and “hopeless” for weeks at a time. Many factors can contribute to the onset of depression, including the presence of other physical disorders, stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss and relationship difficulties. Depression isn’t always easy to detect, and people with depressive conditions do not all experience the same symptoms. It may be expressed through lack of appetite or overeating; insomnia or an unnatural desire to sleep; the abuse of drugs and alcohol; sexual promiscuity; or hostile, aggressive, or risk-taking behavior.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
· Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
· Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
· Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
· Irritability, restlessness
· Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
· Fatigue and decreased energy
· Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
· Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
· Overeating, or appetite loss
· Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
· Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even
If you are in the middle of a divorce or have gone through a divorce you’ve suffered a personal loss. If hat loss is causing persistent sadness or anxiety, if you are feeling hopelessness, fatigue or physical symptoms that are uncommon there is a possibility that you are suffering from depression.
Denying what may be going on or not seeking help due to shame keeps you stuck. If you change
your mind and the way you think about
mental illness you will be able to change your life.
I encourage any woman struggling with the symptoms above to talk to her doctor. It is about quality of life and we all deserve good quality of life. And, seeking better health both physically and mentally is nothing to be ashamed of.
When I was 24 I began to have panic attacks. I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia and started seeing a therapist and taking medication. Within a few months I was no longer having panic attacks. I had whipped the ass out of the mental illness that was keeping me from living a full, rich life.
What I found hardest to recover from was the shame. My family reacted to my diagnosis as if my character was somehow flawed. Their reaction to my Agoraphobia caused me more pain than any panic attack I ever had.
I felt less worthy. As rational as I am I bought into their idea that mental illness was an indication that I had less value as a person. It took me months to work through and cure my mental illness. It took me years to overcome the shame I felt due to other’s opinions of my mental illness.
I work with clients as a Divorce Consultant. I’m always surprised by the negative reactions when I tell a client I feel they need to talk to their doctor about the possibility of depression. Or they need to seek therapy with a professional who can help them work through their issues.
It has been 30 years since I was diagnosed with Agoraphobia. There is more awareness about mental illness but, the stigma remains. People’s minds have not changed but, if you are suffering and feel you need help, it is only one mind that needs to change. Make that mind, your mind.
When it comes to depression ignorance is not bliss. Hell there is no bliss at all. I urge you to seek help if you are suffering any of the symptoms above. There is no shame is being pro-active and doing whatever needs to be done so you can live life to the fullest.
The poem says it all..
Come on girl, brush yourself down
Cast aside this darkness
‘Action speaks louder than words’
Now is the time to advance
Not ponder, or doubt, or look back
Problems can be dealt with
And that you intend to do
Now girl, pull yourself from the depths
Start to live again
And laugh once more
Remember what they say…..
‘You’ are your harshest critic
Of every thought and word and deed
Be kind to yourself
And then, and only then
Be kind to those who deserve it more