Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Depression, also known as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. Depression affects how the person feels, behaves and thinks.
For major depression, you may experience five or more of the following symptoms for at least a two-week period:
- Persistent sadness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex
- Difficulty concentrating and complaints of poor memory
- Worsening of co-existing chronic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Weight gain or loss
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Anxiety, agitation, irritability
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Slow speech; slow movements
- Headache, stomachache, and digestive problems
Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.
Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a longer period of time.
If you have any of these please talk to your doctor as soon as possible for treatment and help.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It's not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide: it's a cry for help.
I have been there and stay tuned as I will talk about it some with you.