In 2014, about 6.7 percent of Americans suffered from a major depressive episode (adaa.org). Millions of people suffer through depression every day, but many never reach out for help, while some people wait months or years to seek help. Thriveworks Knoxville counselors are ready to see you as soon as tomorrow. You don’t have to suffer any longer.
Portraits of Depression
Janelle used to love her job working for the city’s tourism department, but lately she has found it difficult to make decisions that used to come easily to her. Her workload is piling up, and the former stream of encouraging emails has transformed into reminders of repeatedly missed deadlines.
She goes directly to her apartment after work and doesn’t answer her phone when her friends call, since she feels bad about spending half of the conversation apologizing for “dumping” her feelings on them. Instead, she binge-watches entire seasons of TV shows she doesn’t even particularly like — it’s just a distraction. She could spend her evenings planning for future projects, but she doesn’t think any of her ideas are worth pursuing.
Types of Depression
Depression is debilitating to those who experience it, but it is also a source of pain for the depression victim’s friends and family. Understanding the different types, signs, and symptoms of depression will help you identify what you or your loved one might be going through.
Major depressive disorder, also known as recurrent depression, clinical depression, major depression, or unipolar disorder, impedes a person’s ability to live a balanced lifestyle due to overwhelming negative feelings such as hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, and irritability. Normal activities such as sleeping, eating, enjoying favorite activities, working, and studying can all be disrupted by the overwhelming nature of the disorder.
When feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, or anxiety persist for more than two years, this is known as persistent depressive disorder. You might also be affected by psychotic depression, depression that occurs in conjunction with irrational beliefs, hallucinations, or other delusions; seasonal affective disorder, which is a state of depression incited by fewer hours of daylight; postpartum depression, the severe depressive state mothers sometimes experience after childbirth; or one of the other forms of depression, including bipolar disorder.
Regardless of which type of depression you are living with, many of the symptoms for each are similar. In addition to feelings of persistent sadness, depression can include the following:
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Irritability and bouts of extreme anger
- Difficulty falling asleep or waking up
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Slowed thinking
- Inexplicable aches and pains that don’t lessen with treatment
- Decreased interest in formerly enjoyable activities
- Suicidal thoughts (or actual attempts)
- Persistent fatigue
- Difficulty in making decisions, large or small
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on detailed work
Depression Causes and Treatment
Depression has no target audience. It can strike regardless of age, gender, occupation, orientation, or socioeconomic status. Numerous factors can contribute to the onset of depression, such as biology, genetics, psychological temperament, environment, or traumatic experiences.
The specific sources of depression will vary with each individual, but what is most important is that the individual seeks help. The sooner you seek care, the more effective the treatment will be. It should be understood that depression is more than moody feelings or “the blues.” It’s a serious disorder that an individual can’t simply shake themselves out of.
If you’re experiencing depression, the following are some steps you can take immediately to help improve your outlook:
1. Exercise regularly.
Even if it’s just a casual walk around your neighborhood, an active body means a calmer mind.
2. Socialize and find support.
Confide in a friend or family member who has your best interest in mind. Simply having a judgment-free sounding board will relieve some of the pressure, almost like someone is sharing the load with you. If someone knows what you’re going through, they’ll better be able to help.
3. Expect change to be gradual.
Working through depression isn’t like flipping a switch. It’s a potentially long process, but a rewarding one. The sooner you start, the sooner you will experience relief.
4. Replace the negative with the positive.
It’s much harder to “stop seeing the negative” without replacing it with something positive. If you know a certain activity incites depression, avoid that activity by doing something positive instead.
If you are not the one suffering from depression, but instead are watching your loved one go through the pain of this serious disorder, there are steps you can take. First, extend emotional support. By letting them know their well-being matters to you and that you recognize and acknowledge the negative feelings they are having, you can provide much-needed affirmation and support. Next, encourage them to seek therapy for their depression. Counseling has long been recognized as a highly effective method for treating depression, but sometimes it takes a little encouragement before a person is ready to reach out to a professional. Finally, if your loved one talks of suicide, take it seriously. Help them get help immediately.
Once in counseling, the therapist will assist you or your loved one in determining the root cause of the depression, developing healthy skills for managing any persistent depression, and changing negative thoughts and attitudes that may be exacerbating the depression.
Why Choose Thriveworks Knoxville Depression Counseling?
At Thriveworks Knoxville Counseling, we believe it should be easy to obtain quality therapy when you need it. It’s one of our founding principles. Therefore, Thriveworks Knoxville counselors operate on a strict no waiting list policy, which means that when you call to schedule your first appointment, you’ll talk to an actual person (not an answering machine) who will help you find a session within the week (if not within 24 hours). Depression is an overwhelming burden to carry alone. Let Thriveworks Knoxville depression counseling share the weight.
“Depression: Understand the Facts.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Adaa.org.