More Than a Bad Mood: Women and Depression
Uncontrolled cycles of stress, sadness and mental fatigue can be symptoms of emotional illness. Depression is an emotional illness that robs thousands of people of the ability to control their emotions, especially sadness and loss of interest. According to the Mayo Clinic, one in five women develops depression at some point in their life. Unfortunately, many of these women will not seek professional help because they consider their depression symptoms as “just life.” Depression is not life as usual. Healing is available for women suffering with this illness. “Only weak women deal with depression” is just one of many falsehoods that cloud the perception of those dealing with depression. The truth is depression comes from a chemical imbalance in the brain that makes it very difficult to self-regulate one’s emotions. A depressed person may want to feel happy, but instead experience sadness. They may know they should be calm, but exhibit anxiety. Common causes of depression include:
• Genetics • The onset of puberty, pre-menopause or menopause • Poor nutrition • Pregnancy or post partum • Traumatic life experiences • Health problems
Pretty common, right? You probably know someone who has experienced at least one of the common causes of depression. It is not an issue of education, economics or emotional strength. It is an illness, and it needs attention.
Here are four effective ways to react to symptoms or a diagnosis of depression:
1. Don’t panic and don’t feel ashamed. You are not weak nor do you lack faith. You are dealing with an illness that is common and treatable.
2. Declare that healing and help are available. There are many treatment plans and approaches to dealing with depression. You must find the plan that works for you, which may include prayer and a support group, a total diet and environment change, or professional counseling and medication. You owe it to yourself to find and stick with the plan that leads to a healthier you.
3. Discover your place of help. Do not wait or hide your condition. Be proactive about seeking the help you need. Talk to your church, make an appointment with your primary care physician, and contact your health insurance for referrals. Do what works and do it now.
4. Develop a support system. Share your diagnosis with a trusted circle of friends, and give them permission to be a part of your healing process.
Without treatment, depression consumes the lives of its victims. However, with treatment, women can take control of their lives and live emotionally healthy!