Skip to main content

Depression

What it is

Often written about as an overwhelming feeling of sadness or "rough patch," depressive disorder, frequently simplified as depression, is more than just a case of the blues. It is a serious mental health affliction that often requires both medicinal and psychological care. Thankfully, with a proper treatment plan and regulation most clients get better and lead healthier lives. 

For some, they will only experience one depressive episode in their lifetime. For others, this will be reoccurring, sometimes lasting months to your between episodes. 

Symptoms that may be present

  • Pessimism
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Difficulty sleeping, struggling with staying asleep, falling asleep, or oversleeping
  • Decreased energy, "feeling exhausted," fatigued, or "sluggish"
  • Unexplained weight gain/loss
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Suicide Attempts

Prevalence

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is still one of the most common mental disorders in the United States (NIMH, 2019) affecting just over 17 million adults or seven percent of all U.S. adults. This was higher in females than males and highest among individual 18-25. 

Things you can do to help yourself

  • Live a healthy lifestyle: you need to start taking active care in your physical health. This means you are eating nutritious, balance, fibrous meals and drinking enough water. It also means that you are taking active steps towards exercising.
  • Continue basic hygiene: you should not neglect your daily routine when you are feeling upset or depressed. The feelings of "not today," or "I just can't, " often increase our already sour moods and feelings of helplessness. This then further contributes to feeling like we have no control over our lives thus pushing us further into the depression. Through implementation and consistency, we can regain control and help push ourselves out of our depressive rut. 
  • Gather your forces: you will need your full battalion to fight this coming war! When depression flares, even the small things can feel difficult to manage, overwhelming the mightiest of heroes. Your friends and family can help you through this matter. Chances are they have gone through a similar event or time in their life that involved great pain or sadness.
  • Small feats: instead of making grand gestures to yourself or others, do small things. For example, if you want a meal but do not have the energy to cook, make a sandwich. You have permission to do small steps, tiny feats. We take those small victories because they eventually add up to a large win. 

References

Apps that help

  • Calm: Soothing audio that focuses on stress reduction and will bring more clarity, joy, and peace of mind into your life anywhere you go.
  • Headspace: Help improve your focus, exercise mindful awareness, relieve anxiety and reduce stress. 

Other resources

The College Student's Guide to Depression