Today, I took a good look in the mirror and saw not only wrinkles, which I can accept, but teenage acne.  Then, I took a look at the news and heard it was going to snow again.   Then, I got on the scale.  After two weeks of not exercising because of my terrible, spouse-inflicted head injury (still waiting for the expensive guilt gift) and a weekend of fried foods, red wine and late nights, I gained five pounds.  I almost looked at my credit card statement but stopped just short of driving this final nail in the “I have to get my act together” coffin.  Why the self-mutilation?  I suppose I was sub-consciously arming myself against this this week’s topic.  Each week since I started YesFive, by about Tuesday, I am suffering with whatever it is I am writing about:  headaches, back pain, sleep disorders, etc.  If I am already at rock-bottom, I guess I can’t get much lower.  Talk about biting off your nose to spite your face.

Depression is a serious illness and is crippling in many ways not only to the individual, but to our society.  The following facts help to highlight the enormity of the problem.

1.  There are an estimated 19 million people suffering from depression in America.

2.  There are twice as many women with depression — further evidence that God is a man.

3.  The World Health Organization has estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of illness – behind heart disease – worldwide.

4.  Depression affects people of all races, creeds, incomes and ages but it is 3 – 5  times more common in the elderly.

5.  Some studies have shown that almost 60% of stay-at-home mothers report feeling depressed.  The other 40% are self-medicating or in denial.  Any life’s work that you do for free, that makes you refer to yourself in the third person, and requires you to clean, serve, scream and chauffeur cannot possibly be good for your mental health.

I find it interesting that people are either hot or cold on the depression topic.  That is, some people are so open about their own depression that they pop their Prozac in public and tout its life-changing effects to anyone who will listen.  Others, refuse to view it as a real illness and will trivialize it in others and/or ignore their own symptoms.  From a medical standpoint, I believe it is a disease and that people who are suffering should seek help.  From a personal standpoint, I have had really bad PMS that has made me feel like those people in the commercials who are dragging and weeping their way through a day.  I can only extrapolate from that how awful it must feel to be truly depressed.  I hope that I can help someone out there identify it in themselves or in someone that they love.  Life is wonderful and hard and short.  Apathetic is no way to make this journey.  In the coming week, the signs and symptoms of depression, risk factors, treatment and some information on why its prevalence is increasing (if I can find it.)

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