The term “depression” is nothing new, as it has been tormenting millions of minds into living a miserable life with an invisible burden throughout various civilizations. In previous times it was not openly discussed, however it is relatively being openly talked about, especially within social media even by famous celebrities and influencers to express their state of being, and is rising continuously as compared to the previous decade. It is about time that we all learn some facts about depression to become more aware and help our loved ones to get through its exhausting phases.
What is Depression?
According to the experts, clinical depression is a major psychological depressive disorder due to the brain’s chemical imbalances that negatively affect the person severely on both mental and physical levels. It alters one’s perspective of life and makes one lose any interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Sometimes the severity of this illness leads to self-harm and even suicide attempts. Here are some known and researched facts about depression.
1. Not related to laziness
One of the biggest misconceptions about depression is that people brush it off as being lazy, in truth, it is quite the opposite. As being lazy is one’s choice and is not altered by negative thought processes while being depressed one faces a lack of both mental and physical energy to carry out any task.
2. Bipolar nature of it
Most of the time when a depressed person feels active or energetic to do something, one is confronted by others as to how can one be happy if you are depressed? That’s another issue people are not familiar with, as depression is not a button that switches on or off in one’s brain, it’s dynamic just like any other emotion. A depressed being can feel a burst of happiness just like any healthy and happy person.
Just like previously mentioned, if one can feel a burst of happiness in between depressive episodes the opposite is true as well and it happens more often. One can start to feel anxious and sad out of nowhere and followed by mood swings that other people often find hard to justify or explain. But this erratic behavior is uncontrollable as one loses command over emotions. So it’s never this or that in depression, it’s always this and that.
3. There’s no time limit
Unlike other diseases, for example, common flu, it is known that it takes 2-3 days to heal but with depression, it can be 1 hour, 1 day, or even 1 week. Once hit with a depressive episode, there’s no preset as to when one will recover from it. This lack of time limit causes anxiety in most depressed people, as it delays or sometimes even put a strong strong halt on both their personal and professional life.
4. Different for different people
Depending on numerous variables, depression can affect different people differently. As one person can feel just a little down and lethargic while another individual might find it difficult to even find a reason to continue to live. But dismissing one or the other due to lack or excess of the symptoms will definitely affect them negatively.
5. Running from it
Contrary to the general hysteria of depression that it makes one a dead-weight, it can also make one excessively active but not for the right reason. It is often seen people who possess the mindset of go-getters will engage themselves in purposeless activities to avoid thinking about it at any cost. Physical activity definitely helps to fight off depression, however, excess of it leads to fatigue and purposelessness gives way to more feelings of unworthiness, which ultimately puts one in the same lethargic feeling mindset.
6. Appetite fluctuation
Appetite is another important aspect of life that is tremendously affected by depression. Depending on the person, one can suddenly find themselves emotional eating in extreme amounts meanwhile others can find they start to neglect food altogether. Unfortunately, even after knowing and observing such trends, one does not change these as it provides some comfort to the person.
7. Extreme change in sleeping patterns
Given the enormous exhaustion that is linked with depression, it is not unusual to find one extremely tired all the time which of course leads to excessive sleeping. A depressed person can sleep anywhere from 12-16 hours a day, it might sound bad but depression is the cause of it. In some unusual cases, it leads to insomnia where one has trouble falling asleep.
8. There’s more than one type of it
Unlike other disabilities, this one can be seasonal, hormonal, and situational. As we know it happens due to an imbalance in the brain’s chemistry, our body changes internally every time it needs to adapt to changing weather, undergoing surgery or childbirth. There are many types of depressions but mainly they are categorized into these types.
- Persistent Depression: This is the type of depressive episode that lasts up to 2 years then slowly fades away with the help of medication or improvement in lifestyle.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder: A type of major depression that occurs mostly during the winters, as our bodies receive less sunlight, it usually dials down in spring. However, some population’s depression can get triggered in summers.
- Psychotic Depression: Individuals with such illness suffer from major depression as well as show psychotic behaviors such as hallucinations, being delusional in life, and even paranoia.
- Peripartum Depression: If a woman is suffering from major depression during childbirth, it can lead to peripartum depression which can make the child depressed as well. Even the father can suffer from it.
9. It redefines triggers
Although ongoing stress and trauma are often considered big triggers and easy to understand as to why they cause such a disability. At times, smaller alterations in life can also trigger depressive episodes such as feeling homesick or joining a new job. As it doesn’t depend on the circumstances but the level of cortisol, a hormone that is secreted under stress.
10. Nobody is immune to it
One of the most overlooked and unfortunate facts about it is that depression doesn’t discriminate among age, gender, ethnicity, or even species. From innocent children to accomplished senior citizens depression can disable all and without even any warning, and in some cases, it is even found in animals that were subjected to stress and trauma.
Depression is a serious illness that must not be overlooked but is it all negative without any hope? Not quite, the fortunate thing is that it is absolutely treatable with medication and therapy. But we must understand that just like any other disease it takes time to recover from it, patience and self-love are vital here.