The Normalization of Depression: Why It’s Important to Recognize Symptoms

The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. 

- Psalm 34:18 (HCSB)
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Depression is a mental health condition that can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Symptoms of depression may include feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt, as well as changes in appetite, sleep, and energy levels. Some people may also experience difficulty concentrating or making decisions or have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

However, it is possible for someone to become accustomed to their depression. This is particularly true if the depression has been present for a long time or if it has developed gradually. Over time, a person with depression may come to see their symptoms as a normal part of life. They may try to cope in ways that are not helpful, such as by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. This can lead to a cycle of worsening symptoms and can make it harder for the person to seek help.

In my blog post for this week, I aim to discuss ways of recognizing symptoms before they reach a critical stage.

Understanding Depression

Man sitting in a dark room with his face in his hands.

Depression is a complex illness affecting many individuals. Over 264 million people worldwide suffer from this common mental health disorder. While the exact cause is unclear, research points to several factors. Genetics, brain chemical imbalances, and biological factors contribute. Environmental factors like life events, stress, and trauma can increase risk. Psychological factors like negative thoughts and low self-esteem play a role too.

Depression is treatable, despite its debilitating nature. Therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can effectively manage it.

Getting Help

Unfortunately, some individuals with depression may feel a sense of shame or stigma about their mental health struggles, which can prevent them from seeking help. And as I wrote earlier, a person with depression may come to see their symptoms as a normal part of life or may try to cope with them in ways that are not helpful, such as by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. This can lead to a cycle of worsening symptoms and can make it harder for the person to seek help.

It is, however, vitally important for individuals with depression to understand they are not alone. More importantly, there is no shame in seeking help. Talking to a mental health professional or a trusted friend or family member can be an important first step in getting help. There are many effective treatments available for depression, and with the right treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of depression and live a fulfilling life.

Symptoms are Different from Person to Person

First off, let me remind that everyone’s experience with depression is unique. With this in my, treatment plans should be tailored to meet individual needs. Some people may experience mild symptoms that come and go, while others may experience more severe and persistent symptoms. The duration of depressive episodes can also vary, causing some to experience chronic depression symptoms for years. And finally, i,n some cases, depression can occur in conjunction with other mental health disorders such as anxiety.

It is also important to note that depression can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or socioeconomic status. And while depression is more commonly diagnosed in adults, it can also occur in children and adolescents. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 4.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2020.

Depression’s Impact on Others Around You

Depression can also have an impact on family members and loved ones. Family members may feel overwhelmed or helpless. When faced with their loved one’s depression, they too may experience their own feelings of sadness and hopelessness. They may also feel guilty or responsible for their loved one’s condition, even through no fault of their own.

It’s important for family members to take care of their own well-being while also supporting their loved ones. This can include reaching out to a mental health professional, attending support groups, and practicing self-care. Family members can also play a vital role in encouraging their loved one to seek help and offering emotional support during treatment.

Closing

In conclusion, depression is a common and complex mental health condition that affects many individuals, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. It is important to recognize the symptoms of depression and seek help early on. Treatment plans should be tailored to meet individual needs, and family members and loved ones can play a vital role in offering support and encouragement. Remember, depression is treatable, and with the right help, it is possible to manage symptoms and live a fulfilling life.

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If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

Scripture quotations marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.

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