How Do You Know If You Are Depressed?

The other day I was talking to a lady who said that she was on the verge of depression. She said, “I am not there but I am close.”

“Depression is a major public health problem, which is predicted to be second only to cardiovascular disease as the leading cause of disease-related disability worldwide by 2020,” says an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

The article laments that depression goes unrecognized and poorly treated because physicians are too busy dealing with physical ailments and have no time for mental health care. There is stigma attached to diagnoses of mental illness so patients are in denial for a long time. Lastly, there is uncertainty about treatment efficacy and patients sometimes feel poorly treated.

Amongst teenagers, depression is a very common problem and affects as many as one in eight teenagers. Just like in adults, depression amongst teenagers affects more girls than boys.

Why does one feel helpless and depressed?

There isn’t one single factor that makes a person feel anxious and depressed. Some of the factors which influence how you feel depend on genetics, environment, other medical conditions and events which have occurred in your life and how you react to them.

In western countries, our lifestyle plays a significant role in causing depression. Some of the lifestyle factors are: our constant desire to get rich and acquire materialistic things, our desire to achieve success as defined by our peers rather than our desire to achieve happiness and the ever changing world economics make our job and financial well being insecure.

How can one know that he or she is on the verge of depression?

Life is not fair. There is stress and there is sadness. If the feeling of sadness lingers on and interferes with your ability to participate in normal activities then you know it is a warning sign, either you are depressed or you are on the verge of depression. You need to seek help immediately.

How does one feel if he or she was depressed?

There are various symptoms of depression. For example a person feels sad most of the time (sometimes for no obvious reasons), there is lack of energy, there is inability to enjoy things that used to bring pleasure, you tend to withdraw from friends and family, there is easy irritability, anger, or anxiety, you are unable to concentrate, there may be significant weight gain or loss, there is significant change in sleep patterns, there is feelings of guilt or worthlessness, there is pessimism and indifference, and there are thoughts of death or suicide

If you think you were on the verge of depression then what can you do to get back to “normal”?

Immediately get help from your family doctor. It is as simple as that. It is important to find happiness in life. Happy people live longer, give more, have more energy, are more likely to get married and people generally like to be around happy people rather than people who constantly complain of life’s little or big discomforts.

There are many books written about happiness. That means there is no easy solution to finding happiness. But some of the things you can do to be happy are: practice act of kindness, express gratitude, cultivate optimism, avoid over thinking, learn to forgive, develop social skills, do not depend on others and thank heavens for glass half full rather than half empty.

Do I see you smiling? Well, half the battle is already won!

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