Mental health has been a hot topic of conversation as of late. After Kid Cudi made a brave PSA about his battle with depression, anxiety, and suicide social media was left in awe and dismay. How could such an influential, loving, and creative person be so unhappy? The most popular line of the day was….
“Depression is real.”
Yes, depression is real and so is anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and schizophrenia just to name a few. They are as real as allergies, cancer, or diabetes, the only difference is that it cannot always be proven or seen with the naked eye and that’s what makes it difficult for us to understand and accept.
“In America an estimated 26.2 percent of adults (ages 18 and older) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. That means that one out of every four adults struggles with mental illness within the short course of 12 months. That is a high percentage, translating to approximately 58 million adults. All that being said, it’s clear that mental illness is not a rarity, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Let’s talk about it, let’s learn about it, and let’s beat it — together.” – (Bustle.com)
Globally, mental health is stigmatized, this is not a problem just in our community but it is a problem all over the world.
“In developing countries, it is not uncommon to find people with serious mental illness chained up, locked away or subjected to regular, outright abuse, even in health care institutions.” – (GHDOnline.com)
Reasons why mental health is ignored:
- Mental health treatment is too complicated, expensive, and hard to measure.
- Mental health is seen as a weakness.
- Mental health is easily masked with temporary fixes like drugs, sex, and alcohol.
- Mental health is seen as some type of demonic spirit that can just be “prayed away”.
Today is World Mental Health Day and the more that we talk about it, the better. If you or someone you know may be suffering from a mental illness, address it. Remember that you are not alone, and it is okay to seek help.
Signs that you may be suffering from depression:
1. Prolonged sadness – We all have bad days when we are just in low spirits but depression is an enduring sense of sadness for a period of time. Depressed individuals feel a sense of utter hopelessness and defeat as if life is completely meaningless. This way of thinking is different from regular unhappiness, and prevents an individual from functioning and living a normal life.
2. Self-loathing attitude – Many depressed individuals direct their misery towards themselves. They blame their self for everything that goes wrong or doesn’t meet their expectation. They become overly extremely self-critical and doubt their capability to achieve anything at all. Such self-loathing leads to dissatisfaction and frustration, often even guilt at underachievement or perceived uselessness. This self-loathing attitude, coupled with low self-esteem can produce dangerous thoughts such as suicide being an escape from one’s own worthlessness.
3. Loss of interest – Depressed individuals find it very difficult to be suitably involved in routine activities at work, home or elsewhere. They cannot concentrate or engage in any task. When they shy away from productive activity they end up dwelling on their unhappiness, creating a vicious cycle. Many times, there is even a loss of libido and sexual activity stops being a priority.
4. Irritability & Isolation – In most instances, depressed individuals lose all their social bearings and are unable to act in a socially appropriate manner. They are irritable in their interaction with others – no matter who they may be; their family, friend or boss even. This short temperedness and general aversion to social interaction cause those depressed to isolate themselves from others. They prefer being alone for hours at length, conversing with others only when absolutely necessary.
5. Anxiety – Overwhelming fear and/or nervousness. Feelings of restlessness, fatigue, irritability, explosive anger, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tensions
6. Low energy – Fatigue and lack of energy are typically witnessed in depressed individuals. They feel so defeated that they are incapable of accomplishing even the smallest of tasks. This can effect their professional life tremendously. Lack of energy, concentration, motivation, and responsiveness will hamper the quality of work that gets done.
7. Disturbed sleeping patterns – Depressed individuals may develop insomnia, which adds to fatigue, anxiety, irritability, and low energy levels. People who are depressed sleep excessively or remain in bed for an unhealthy amount of time. Some complain that they are unable to physically get up out of the bed, and are feeling extremely lethargic.
8. Change in appetite – When depressed you can either have a loss of appetite or eat excessively which lead to changes in body weight. These same body changes may occur with someone who is just low in spirit and not depressed. Depression causes more severe changes wherein a minimum of 5% body weight alteration takes place in a week.
9. Reckless behavior – One’s normal behavioral patterns get altered. Even the most cautious individuals may indulge in reckless, unthinking activity. Bad investments, adventurous trips, indiscreet sexual activity, and even substance abuse. This type of behavior impacts their relationship with other people from friends and family to their professional life. Depression poses as a threat to all aspects of one’s life.
10. Suicidial tendencies – Suicide is the result of untreated mental illness. Suicidal thoughts are the most telling and dangerous symptom of depression. People with this mood disorder spend a great amount of time thinking of ways to harm them self. They are bombarded with horrific thoughts and fascinated with the idea of death.