After briefly discussing mental and emotional health in our previous blog post, it is important to go in depth and discuss exactly how important it is to be aware of our mental and emotional health, as individuals as well as a community.
So, it seems only right to reiterate and ask some of the hard questions:
What is depression? What causes it? How would I know that I have it?
Depression is defined as a disorder that affects someone’s mood; it brings overwhelming feelings of sadness and causes the person to lose interest (Mayoclinic.org).
Being such a stigma, a lot of people are unaware of the symptoms and causes of depression due to lack of education rather than fear and skepticism. If no one is around to teach about a serious disorder to the general public, does it really exist?
The answer is yes. Now, while the causes of depression vary, such as being laid off, loss of a loved one, or even elevated stress levels, what people don’t know or understand is that depression does not only come in many forms, but also is spread over many levels. According to an article by the Knowzo Health Team, there are 8 known types of depression, each one different in their own right. To get more information about these various types, feel free to follow the link to Knowzo’s article:
But is depression something that happens out of the blue?
On August 25, 2017, the state of Texas was hit by a devastating category-4 hurricane, Hurricane Harvey, which raged on for almost a week, particularly damaging the counties of Galveston and Harris, including the city of Houston.
As of this past Saturday, September 2nd, the documented death toll from the hurricane has topped over 50 lives.
Amidst all of the social media posts, shares, and hashtags, what a lot of people might have overlooked is the aftermath of such a horrific natural disaster in terms of mental and emotional health. Though the efforts of volunteers and nonprofit organizations are beneficial to the overall disaster relief of the population, there are not as many resources available regarding counseling for those who have lost loved ones in the disaster, as well as those suffering from trauma due to the loss of homes, belongings, etc.
With this ongoing discussion, hopefully there can be alternatives put into play in order to help those that aren’t able to verbalize exactly what is affecting them after such a traumatic experience.
Now that we’ve covered what depression is and what might cause it, with the help of Mental Health America and Healthline, here are some common symptoms of depressive disorder:
- Hopeless or pessimistic outlook on life
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Decrease of energy, increase of fatigue and sleeping
- Constant mood of anxiety or emptiness
- Weight fluctuation and change in appetite
- Persistent mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts
While many of these symptoms are quite distinctive, having one or two of many is not definitive proof that one suffers from a form of depression. However, in this day and age, it would be naive to ignore the signs. Despite the tone of this discussion, it’s important to remember that there ARE treatments for this condition, and people that may be experiencing depression are not at all without help!
So, hopefully this helps in the long run; if not you...then maybe someone you know. Spread the wealth. Be blessed.
Mental Health America. “Depression And African Americans” http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-and-african-americans
Healthline. “Signs of Depression”
Knowzo.com. “8 Depression Types To Know About And Understand” https://www.knowzo.com/health/depression/8-depression-types-to-know-about-and-understand/