by ana theresa williams,bsn,rn
Do you have that persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest? Or feelings of guilt or low self-worth with disturbed sleep or appetite? Or feelings of tiredness or poor concentration?
You might be suffering from depression, which is different from mood fluctuations. It affects how you feel, think and behave. It can actually lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
You also may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life is not worth living.
Psychiatrists said depression is more than just a bout of the blues; it is not a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of.
Instead, depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment, like diabetes or high blood pressure, medical experts said.
World Health Organization said depression is a common mental illness and people suffering from it need immediate support and treatment. Globally, WHO said more than 350 million people have depression.
But Filipinos are not spared from this illness since stigma is still present in our culture. We thought we can just laugh or talk it out; but the truth is that appropriate medical intervention is quite necessary like one suffering from diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
And like any diseases, the earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is.
So why get depressed? Research shows it runs in families. Some people inherit genes that make it more likely for them to get depressed. However, many people who have no family history of depression still get depressed.
There are actually more than one reason on why suffer from this mental illness. This can be due to stress, exposure to daylight for some individuals, using alcohol and drugs, moving or changing schools and house, death of a loved one, parents divorce/separate or remarry, poverty, homelessness, violence in a person’s family or relationships, unemployed, suffering from a serious disease such as cancer, being overly dependent to parents, pessimistic, hormonal changes, among others.
According to research, the positive outlook in life serves as a protection against depression, even for people who have the genes, brain chemistry, or life situations that put them at risk for developing it. Then the opposite is also true, people who tend to think more negatively can be more at risk for developing depression.
Although we cannot control our genes, brain chemistry, or some of the other things that contribute to depression, we still have the ‘power’ to control over how we see situations and how we cope.
However, this becomes even more effective if you allow Jesus Christ to take full control over your life since He promised in 1 Peter 5:7, ‘Cast all your anxieties unto Me (Jesus) because I care for you.’