This week’s blog is about depression and the many ways into a depressive state. Depression has many faces and causes. There is a situational depression, i.e. “My girlfriend just left me for another guy”. There is a long time, at least 2 years, depressive state that is called a Dysthymic Disorder according to the DSM IV. This is a state of low energy, fatigue, low self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, poor appetite or over eating that continues to plague an individual for several years and has become more of a life style. There is a major depressive disorder where an individual will think seriously about dying, feels hopeless, helpless and has no energy for days on end. Every day is a burden and every night is a burden of sleeplessness or the need to sleep all of the time to avoid life. Weight loss or weight gain, diminished interest or feeling no pleasure in any or all activities all are signs of a major depressive disorder. This depression is brought on by being hit with multiple stressful events, i.e. “ my wife left me, my house is going into foreclosure, my child fell and hurt themself at school, etc.”. Another form of depression is the kind brought on by a traumatic event often having occurred earlier in our life and now resurfaces. These events are often serious in nature, i.e. a rape, seeing the ravages of war or as a participant in war or any serious abuse be it sexual, physical or emotional. These are some of the ways depression sneaks up on us. The blog next week will be about ways to fight depression and to keep ourselves depression free throughout our life.
Richard Moody, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist TurningLeaf Wellness Center
I will often ask the question of my patients "are you existing or are you living your life?" By this is meant do you invest in your daily activities or do let events carry you along through life? Investing in your daily activities means you are proactively seeking out activities each day that enhance your life. Whether the activities are at work, with the family or with friends do you make the most of each of these experiences each day or do you just "go with the flow". Is work enjoyable and does it bring a smile to your face as you engage in your work or is it a daily grind? Do you really stop and think about how great it is to hug your child or your wife and to be with them or is it just routine? What about your friends do you enjoy being with them and know they love you for who you are or are they just a means to an end? If you can answer yes to these questions it would seem you are on the right track.