Depression could be described as a black cloud hovering over your head, or a feeling of hopelessness and impending doom that just wonít go away. It can sneak up on you in midlife for the very first time, or it can haunt you throughout your life, beginning at a very young age.
For those who experience relatively short bouts of depression, life continues on as it was before. However, for those who experience long-term depression, it is a life-altering illness. It can take a productive young woman and change her into a homeless drug addict. No one chooses to be depressed, and it isnít your fault if you are one of the millions of people who are in its grip. Sometimes it is caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain, sometimes itís triggered by painful events and sometimes itís a combination of the two. Whatever the cause, donít allow it to take away your future.
Depression is a serious mental and physical illness which if untreated, can destroy a personís life, but it doesnít have to be that way. No one has to suffer in silence. Help is available to those who need it, and there is no reason to allow depression to rob you of your potential and your happiness. It might be as simple as talking out your issues with a therapist or it might also involve medications, but people just like you get better every day. Granted, it is difficult to pick up the phone and make the call to the Mental Health Center or a private psychiatrist. Walking into the therapistís office might be even more daunting, but you have to consider those as the first steps to your recovery.
If the thought of talking to a therapist about your depression seems too embarrassing, talk to a friend or loved one. If that isnít possible, talk to your family doctor about your symptoms. She can prescribe some medication which might be what you need to start feeling better, and take back control of your life. She will also probably suggest that you get some exercise and spend some time outside and around other people. Isolation is depressionís friend, but itís your enemy. Sitting at home alone dwelling on problems is the last thing you need to do. Go to a movie or a game. Go to church. Call an old friend and meet for lunch. Volunteer at a shelter. Just donít isolate yourself.
Hopelessness is one of the most powerful and debilitating symptoms of depression. It makes you think that no matter what you do, nothing is going to get any better, but donít allow yourself to believe it. Some people give up completely and choose to end their misery with a bullet or a bottle of pills, when if they had only sought help and given it some time, they could have put their lives back together. Suicide is never the answer.
Itís always darkest before the dawn, so donít let that awful darkness fool you into throwing in the towel. Your life can and will get better, even if you canít imagine how. Just remember that if your husband left you, that just means thereís someone better out there waiting for you right nowósomeone you will never meet if you give up. It will take some time, and it wonít be easy, but if you muster the courage and reach out for help, youíll be glad you did.
Asking for help is especially difficult for men because they see it as a sign of weakness. For that reason, many men who suffer from depression never get the help they need to lead happy and productive lives. Instead, many turn to alcohol and drugs and become aggressive, and even violent. If you know a man who is suffering this way please encourage him, in whatever manner necessary, to talk to a professional. No one likes to ask for help, but is a manís pride worth sacrificing his career, his marriage, or even his life?
Depression is life-altering, but it can also be life threatening, so donít take that chance. There is no shame in being treated for a serious illness, so donít allow yourself or someone you love to become another victim of depression.