Depression… the silent killer
Sixteen years ago my family and I got involved in a traffic accident and unfortunately, our youngest brother Apache passed away.
Now, he was the life of the family. His name Apache was given to him because of his fighting and outgoing spirit. His loss was very tough on all of us but I felt it most because I had seen him alive last and we were roommates.
I remember soon after his funeral pinching myself and reminding myself to even cry. I guess it was the state of denial not wanting to ever imagine a life without him.
Months flew by and people moved on but not me. I could spend all nights gazing at the stars (at least I learnt some star constellations), food was not a priority, I was irritable and did not want to see any kids around Apaches age because to me they were a stark reminder of him.
In short, I hated life. My turning point came one day when I was so low I just felt I should do some pot and sleep all day. I told my old lady I’m done with school. My mum being a no-nonsense professor could not take that; she was trying to be strong for all of us but no messing with education! I think all I needed was that trigger.
It was an argument that even the flies on the walls had to exit FAST. Before long, everybody was drawn into the fight and we then realised that indeed we all needed HELP FAST!
24 hours of crying and thinking 1001 ways of ending my life, I decided to lead the way and off to Dr Frank we went. 16 years on I‘m glad we made that choice, it probably saved another life and helped turn one of us into a physician.
Have you struggled in a similar way? Lost a loved one, financial issues, marital problems or just feeling totally bummed out? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of people suffer in silence and some, unfortunately, end up committing suicide.
Well, suffer no more, the piece below should help you understand more about what you going through. It is a medical condition and it’s treatable, don’t let people treat you like your crazy.
Enjoy the read…
What is depression?
It is a mood disorder that is characterised by alow mood (feeling bummed out) and lack of interest in once-enjoyed activities among other symptoms for a period of two weeks. In it severe form, it can affect daily functioning and even lead to death due to suicide.
How do you know you are depressed?
An episode of depression will present itself with feelings of sadness, sometimes crying too much, loss of interest in normal activities and hobbies.
Poor appetite or overeating
Poor sleep pattern or sleeping too much
Feeling tired all the time
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Slow thinking or slow body movements
Associated symptoms like body pains and headaches
Suicide thoughts or attempts
Depression can be caused by many stressors in the social, work and environmental arena. Financial constraints, loss of a job, demanding jobs that do not give you time to unwind can trigger an episode.
Family conflicts, marital issues, and childbirth can cause one to develop depression. Life events like death of a loved one can be very life changing.
Traumatic events like rape and war will trigger a depressive episode. Other times genetics could predispose you and also the climate zones. In Scandinavia, for example, where up very north in winter I could barely see the sun almost everybody in that small town (the Mayor will sue me if I mentioned it)… but sounds like Stavanger… had seasonal depression except a few coconuts like me that loved snowboarding!
Is it treatable?
The stigma of being branded with a mental disorder and the lack of knowledge of how to identify the presence of the disorder has been a major hindrance to the treatment of depression.
The truth of the matter is this condition is treatable and one has the ability to return to full functional capacity and avert a crisis such as suicide.
There are different modes of treatment that can be pursued in terms of management. Psychiatric medication is given to those with moderate to severe depression while those with mild depression undergo psychotherapy.
In some scenarios, some patients will require both, while the medication is addressing the biochemistry, psychotherapy will be unpacking the psycho-social issues that precipitated the depression.
Recovery might be slow and difficult but when you eventually come out of it, it’s like conquering Mt Everest… Awesome!
Encourage anybody out there who is having a tough time, talk to them or help them seek professional help. Remember depression is just like Flu, you cannot hide it long enough and it can just be treated as easily.
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