Trauma in ChildhoodDec 4, 2018
Fitness and Mental HealthFeb 14, 2019
Depression is defined as a mental health disorder characterized by a persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
As we’ve covered in previous articles on depression, this condition is not simply a feeling of sadness that you can ‘decide’ not to have. In fact, a huge part of being depressed is feeling absolutely powerless to it. Cheering up is not an option. It’s not a bad day that can be fixed with ice cream or a night out with friends. Persistence is the key word that sets depression apart from regular sadness.
Persistent feelings of anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness… Feelings of guilt, pessimism, decreased energy and zest for life, recurring thoughts about death and suicide, insomnia or excessive sleeping, and problems concentrating are some of the symptoms related to depression.
It affects different people in different ways but the bottom line remains the same—depression is a debilitating mental illness that is all-consuming, disrupting your day-to-day life, work, and interpersonal relationships.
What Dr Robyn van Schoor has to say
Dr Robyn van Schoor has a wealth of knowledge in the field of psychiatry. In 2015 she worked as a consultant at Steve Biko Academic Hospital for a year. She then shifted her focus on the interface between psychiatry and HIV medicine. Her passion in the pursuit of helping others led her into private practice in 2016.
Dr Robyn has worked with numerous hospitals including Akeso Arcadia Hospital, where she had the opportunity to manage people with substance abuse disorders in a dual diagnosis program. In this podcast, you’ll get a better insight into the inner-workings of depression disorder. We will discuss topics such as the signs and symptoms and what you can do to take back control.
Dr Robyn van Schoor's Podcast Voice Note
Different types of depression include:
- Major Depression – Symptoms are severe and disruptive to life at home and work. People are likely to experience one major episode, but can have several more over the course of their life.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder – Symptoms must last for more than two years. People can go through periods of major depression interspersed with less severe symptoms.
- Psychotic Depression – Severe depression with some kind of psychosis, like delusions or hallucinations.
- SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) – The onset of depression during winter months when there is less sun, and the symptoms lift during warmer seasons of spring and summer.
- Postpartum Depression – Symptoms occur a few weeks after giving birth and don’t go away.
- Bipolar Disorder – Not technically depression, but included because people with Bipolar are prone to extremely low moods along with extremely high moods.
Despite a lot of focus being given to the emotional effects of depression, physical symptoms are common as well. In fact, some people seek help for their physical symptoms without even realizing that they may be suffering from depression. Some of these symptoms include chronic pain in the back, neck, or joints, and regular headaches.
Feeling poorly ties into the feeling of wanting to isolate oneself, often serving as an excuse to not take part in social activities. People with depression also suffer from gastrointestinal problems, like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or constipation/diarrhea, and constant fatigue where the person feels as if they can never get enough rest no matter how much they sleep. This is because the quality of sleep is never good. They might have trouble falling asleep, or fall asleep quickly but don’t stay asleep for long.
They can also end up sleeping too much but not having it be restful sleep. Changes in psychomotor activity are also common. This means someone with depression might feel agitated, sluggish, or restless most of the time, which is related to problems with sleep they might have. Weight fluctuations, or weight gain/loss is attributed to the changes in appetite someone with depression will experience. They might have no appetite, or go through periods of binge eating to fill an emotional void.
Depression is a mental illness defined by its impact on mood, which makes it no surprise that on an emotional level, the effects of depression are rather overwhelming. As mentioned above, this is so much more than just feeling sad. When you’re depressed, you’ll have a low mood for most of the day, almost every day, for at least two weeks. Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy is one of the biggest red flags.
Someone with depression will withdraw from life, avoid social gatherings, lose interest in sex, and show very little positive emotion toward things that used to make them happy. Their minds become a swirling darkness of recurring thoughts around death and suicide, fed by constant feelings of guilt, fear, and worthlessness that are often not based on any kind of real truth but feel most true to the person experiencing it.
As dark as the black cloud of depression might seem, there is a silver lining. Depression—in all its forms—is a wholly treatable condition. There is no reason for anyone to be suffering this kind of half-life for any reason. With decades of research surrounding the various types of depression and its causes, mental health professionals are able to approach it with effective medications and psychotherapy that allow people with depression to go on and lead full, productive, satisfying lives.
Suicide or death should never be the outcome of something that can be helped, and if you or someone you know is dealing with any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, it’s best to seek professional help and take back the life you deserve. Make an appointment with your GP so they can rule out any other possible explanations for the way you’re feeling, and be sure to share information regarding your symptoms, when they started, how often they occur and with what severity, personal details about particular stresses in your life, and what medications you’re taking, if any.
This will help them come to a concise conclusion and refer you to someone who can help. Feel free to contact us at ZwavelStream Clinic for more information on depression treatment and how you can get back to living a full life.