We have busy lives, things happen that can bring us down so we feel stressed causing us to feel sad, depressed, that is normal. Ordinarily we would bounce back in a relatively short period of time.
'Clinical Depression is different. It’s a medical disorder, and it won’t go away just because you want it to. It lingers for at least two consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with one’s ability to work, play or love.' Lisa LaBracio - TED
Depression is often invisible yet it can be very invasive. A friend told me recently that depression came to her like a jolt out of the blue. She found she withdrew from life, could not work, the smallest things seemed like massive challenges, answering the door, talking on the phone, making the bed. That was her reaction, a friend of hers reacted differently, wanted to be around someone all the time, endlessly talking over her life and what had happened, yet not able to move on and do anything about it. Another hid it, everything about her life seemed 'the usual'. What she did not see was the struggle going on daily to appear like everything was 'the usual' until the price that had to be paid for that struggle came at the bottom of a bottle of pills.
We all have extremely busy lives; but spending some time talking with friends or family, having a conversation, can help. You may notice something seems off, they might open up to you. Don't be nervous to have that conversation. It can save a life.
Here is the Ted-Ed post from Lisa LaBracio
1. Help them find help: If you know someone struggling with depression, encourage them – gently – to seek out help. You might even offer to help with specific tasks, like looking up therapists in the area or making a list of questions to ask a doctor. To someone with depression, these first steps can seem insurmountable.
2. Be informed: If they feel guilty or ashamed, point out that depression is a medical condition just like asthma or diabetes. It’s not a weakness or a personality trait, and they shouldn’t expect themselves to “just get over it” any more than they could will themselves to get over a broken arm. The more you know about mental illness, the better able you are to understand what they are going through, and to support them.
3. Don’t downplay it: If you haven’t experienced depression yourself, avoid comparing it to times you’ve felt down – comparing what they’re experiencing to normal, temporary feelings of sadness can make them feel guilty for struggling.
4. Stamp out stigma: Even just talking about depression openly can help. For example, research shows that asking someone about suicidal thoughts actually reduces their suicide risk. Open conversations about mental illness help erode stigma, and make it easier for people to ask for help. And, the more patients seek treatment, the more scientists will learn about depression, and the better the treatments will get.
5. Continue the conversation: Because depression’s symptoms are intangible, it’s hard to know who might look fine, but is actually struggling. Just because your friend may seem fine one day, don’t assume that they’ve ‘gotten better’. Remain supportive.
My name is Katrina Jones, the person behind New Dawn Counselling Service which is situated in Tullamore, Co Offaly.