That statement rolled around my thoughts and I realised that I’d a number of preconceived ideas about depression. I went on the net and dug out some fascinating facts but the statistics are alarming.
Here are some facts:
- 1 out of every 6 people suffer from depression.
I wonder what the other 5 are suffering from because I know from experience that the rest of those folk are not all happy. Perhaps they are on happy pills so they do not realise they are depressed anymore.
- Everyone will at some time in their life be affected by depression – their own or someone else’s.
Didn’t really think about that one until I read the stats about people who do not go for treatment.
- 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment.
- Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants.
This one rattled my thinking. Pre-schoolers?
In my day, my biggest stress at that age was whether I’d be able to stay up later than usual!
- 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
The definition of severe (clinical depression) is further down.
- 30% of women are depressed.
- 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to seek help.
- 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.
- 92% of depressed males do not seek treatment.
- 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.
- Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 – and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
- Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder
- Studies are increasingly linking more illnesses to depression, including: osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, some forms of cancer, eye disease and back pain.
Causes of depression:
- Short-term depression can be caused by loss or extreme trauma.
- Chronic or life-long depression is caused by trauma in childhood which includes: emotional, physical or sexual abuse; yelling or threats of abuse; neglect ; criticism; inappropriate or unclear expectations; maternal separation; conflict in the family; divorce; family addiction; violence in the family, neighbourhood or TV; racism and poverty.
I always believed that depression was a state of mind that you created because you were unhappy about your circumstances or your life but if you’ll look closely at both definitions, a negative external condition or circumstance resulted in the depression.
I wondered how severe depression was defined and this is the accepted criteria:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep nearly every day
- Slowed thinking or movement that others can see
- Fatigue or low energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Loss of concentration or indecisiveness
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
If the above was the only criteria for being severely or clinically depressed then we are all in the same sinking boat as there are very few who have not suffered or suffer from some of the above symptoms.
However, the bottom line to be officially clinically depressed is that you must suffer from five or more of the above symptoms, especially the first two, and it must be over a two-week period.
I wonder what is so mystical or magical about two weeks? Why not three or less?
This depression is not the same as that caused by the loss of a loved one, substance abuse or a medical condition.
So what good has depression done for you?
I know some people who suffer from depression and there are no easy solutions.
If you are depressed, there are few options available to you. The most viable option is professional help and support however most therapy involves seeking a solution to the thoughts and feelings that cause your depression.
Medication is the preferred antidote but it appears that certain anti depressants have even worse side effects than depression.
Alcohol is another solution but it in itself is a depressant. Thus you’re between the devil and the deep blue sea.
I believe that the past is gone and there is nothing you can do to change it or dissolve it. Those things happened and being depressed about it will only make things worse.
It makes no sense to relive those events in your mind when all it does is cause you more pain and anguish.
Surely the amount of time that you spend doing that could be put to much better use focusing on your future instead of letting the past control your present?
Isn’t it time you took charge of your own life by controlling the thoughts and images that shape your emotions?
You largely constructed your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it. — Albert Ellis