According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, nearly 14.8 million people in the United States are affected by Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). As a result, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24. While depression can vary in severity and onset, many sufferers find themselves battling feelings of helplessness, distress, worthlessness, and anxiety. During a major episode, an individual can have difficulty seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, often contemplating self-harm. Unfortunately, there is no formula for what helps each person and brings them out of this depressive episode. However, we know that neurofeedback from Grey Matters of Carmel has been shown to improve depression and its intensity dramatically. So, we hope you’ll join us in recognizing October as National Depression Education and Awareness Month.
National Depression Education & Awareness Month
This year’s National Screening Day (NDSD) theme for the month is “Reach Out,” which focuses on connecting with those around you and finding support. No matter how you choose to treat your depression, the main goal is to find a friend, doctor, or therapist to talk to. In addition, it’s crucial you become an advocate for yourself and others living with MDD. To help spread awareness, use #DepressionAwareness on your posts on social media.
Depression Vs. Sadness
Unfortunately, many people don’t find the help they need because their support system misunderstands their depression for simply “feeling sad.” However, depression is anything but simple. This disorder is complex and can affect people of all ages, genders, races, and life situations. So, let’s look at the differences between sadness and depression:
- Sadness: While sadness can feel all-encompassing at times, it’s important to remember that it’s an emotion and will pass. While it’s okay to be sad, you should still have moments of laughter, clarity, and comfort. When you’re sad, you’ll find relief with a good cry or by spending time with a friend or loved one. You might also notice a positive shift in your mood after a good night’s rest.
- Depression: On the other hand, depression is a mental disorder and affects every aspect of your life. People with MDD find it near impossible to enjoy the smallest things in life, including their favorite activities or time spent with family. Depression can often feel like a dark cloud that follows you around and makes it feel impossible to enjoy life.
As a mental illness, depression has some distinct symptoms that people need to be aware of, especially if they try to help someone with the disorder. Symptoms include:
- Changes in sleeping or eating habits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of interest or enthusiasm in activities
- Feelings of deep, unwarranted guilt
- Headaches, body aches that don’t have a specific cause
- Constant thoughts about death
- Suicidal thoughts and actions
It’s easy to confuse sadness with depression because you might be having some of these feelings and thoughts, but your symptoms shouldn’t last longer than a week or two. Additionally, suicidal thoughts are a key indication that you or your loved one is living with depression. This is where some education comes into play for those looking to help.
As a mental health disorder, depression has many different triggers. Stress, traumatic life events, abuse, health issues, and genetics can all cause depression. However, some people can experience depression without a specific cause at all. Additionally, your depression might also be a side effect of a medication you’re currently taking. Or, you might find yourself with MDD if you lack a social support system like a close circle of friends and family. Really, there’s no formula for what causes depression – it’s all based on the life and lifestyle of each person. Furthermore, some might not even realize they’re depressed because it doesn’t run in their family, or they brush it off because they want to come across as complaining. Still, depression is not a mental health disorder that can be ignored, especially if there’s a way to overcome it!
Another common trigger for depression is a concussion. It’s not uncommon for people who experience a jolt to the head to start exhibiting depression symptoms. However, the injury to the brain simply created new and inefficient neural pathways to avoid the damaged part of the brain. As time passes and the brain continues to cope with the injury, people often experience extreme sadness, headaches, loss of enthusiasm for things they once found enjoyable, and difficulty concentrating. Sound familiar? It’s possible your depressive state is not even depression at all, but rather the lingering symptoms of a concussion.
October may be National Depression Education and Awareness Month, but we help people all year long with their depression. Depression works hard, but your brain works harder, and Grey Matters of Carmel can help you create happier, healthier neural pathways, mitigating all your depression symptoms with each neurofeedback session. By improving your depression, you’ll also notice a change in your anxiety, PTSD, and migraines. So, it’s time to reach out to us! Call (317) 215-7208 today!
Photo Credit: Inzmam Khan from Pexels