After reading yesterday’s entry, my husband commented that it was so painful for him to watch me when I was depressed. Since I hadn’t realized that I was depressed, I gave him my what the hell are you talking about look. “Remember, after your mom died ?……” he responded accompanied by his should I be worried that you are losing your mind look – this is a look that he seems to have recently perfected. I conceded that he had a point. From his vantage point, I am sure that the constant sobbing and fits of hysteria looked like depression, but actually, I think that I was just really sad and furious with the world. When I think of depression, I think of the color gray – not the black of sadness or the hot white of anger but a muted version of emotion. Like a lot of diseases, depression can be acute or chronic, mild or severe.
The most common signs and symptoms of depression are:
1. Decreased ability to concentrate, inability to make decisions, and forgetfulness – especially about the details of your daily life.
2. Decreased energy, overall fatigue and sleep disturbances.
I know that I probably just described a lot of you but wait, there is more.
3. Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and hopelessness.
4. Loss of interest in things that you used to find pleasurable – including sex. Don’t get too alarmed if you used to party all night in college and you aren’t up for it anymore – keg stands and funnels are a little unsettling for the aging brain; a fact that I learned the hard way. But, if you used to love to read, to golf, to go to the movies or to go out with friends and now, you find yourself saying, “I just don’t feel like it,” very often, take a moment to consider why.
5. A general feeling of unwell including headaches, dull aches and pains, and digestive problems — depression can actually hurt. Refer to psychosomatic pain for more information.
If you are having several of these symptoms, consider talking to a doctor or at least someone you trust. Don’t avoid doing so because you don’t want to go on medication. There are other ways to deal with and treat depression and the first step is just to acknowledge its existence. I have more to say but it will have to wait. I have to go pick the kids up at school now because it is sleeting and they are getting dismissed early – God forbid they get cold or wet. I will tell you what is depressing. When I am old and frail, I will still be taking care of my kids because I am giving them little to no training on how to take care of themselves. Maybe I will just leave them there for a while ……….. I’m all talk – I have to go run to them and make sure they are warm, dry and satiated. Tomorrow, risk factors for depression.