Kailah Lee | Staff Writer
Depression. There goes that word again. Don’t you just hate it?
It can creep up on you and ruin a day, a week, or even months to years. It can even be something that has slowly been building and is released through stress and stressful situations.
The worst part is being in the dumps and not having an explanation for how you feel. Imagine being locked in a dark room with no windows, no other people and no sound. Now, imagine the only thing you can feel are thoughts and cold chains pulling you deeper into the floor. That is what depression feels like. No matter the degree in which you may have it, it eats away at you like a parasite.
People often mistake this mental condition as some kind of psychological placebo, but it’s a very real diagnosable brain disorder. Doctors can scan the brain and differentiate between normal and abnormal brain functions. People use that crippling “D” word so loosely nowadays, and that has devalued the concern behind it. It shouldn’t just be a cool label to any stressful or sad situation, it should be taken more seriously.
According to UW Medicine, more than “16 million U.S adults have experienced depression in 2015,” and it’s estimated that 65 percent of people will experience an episode in their lifetime.
How do you know when or if you’re depressed? Major signs of depression include but are not limited to: restlessness, irritability, reduced interest in personal activities, recurring thoughts of suicide, deep feelings of sadness and low sexual desire.
Depression is something that can persist over long periods of time. You may even feel these mood swings around the same time each year. Maybe you’re more upbeat during the warmer months and down during the colder. It’s different for everyone, but it’s still a cycle that should be broken.
“I associate the fall months with sadness because it’s the time where everything dies. My skin becomes pale, my hair is dryer, and everything is dull,” said HU student Sydney Brown, a third-year marine environmental scientist from Atlanta.
Depression or any mood swings can be triggered through so many reasons. Whatever the reasons are, it’s important to accept them rather than run from them.
“I get sad around the springtime because that’s the time my grandma passed away. I hate to think about it, but I know it’s best to let my emotions out,” said Justynn Holt, a junior pre-pharmacy major from Cincinnati.
One of the first steps in overcoming depression is accepting how you feel. Emotions are healthy and normal. Having emotional intelligence is extremely important. If you can understand how you feel, you can grow with that pain. Find some good friends, talk to a person you genuinely trust. Sometimes you need someone to comfort you. Just a simple conversation and a few affirmations can do you a full 360. You have the advantage of knowing what to expect that time of year, so plan things to do around that time.
Pondering on a thought can start to consume you, so find some things you like to do before it hits you. Make plans to take care of you. Mediate, focus on your breathing, stretch your body or go the gym. Sweating releases endorphins in the body which leads to higher levels of dopamine in the brain. Think of dopamine as a depression killer. Being depressed and passionate about a feeling may reduce logic, so take a step back and be rational. Focus on the pros and think about all the good you have going on. Think about how blessed you truly are. Be grateful for the things you have as well as the things you do not have. Someone is somewhere praying to be in your place on your worst day. You are valuable, blessed and worth everything life will reward you with.
If you’re struggling with depression or any mood disorders, remember to accept them and talk to someone. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ve been holding yourself back.