Mental Health Support: Getting Help for Depression

Many of us struggle to tell the difference between depression and sadness because the primary symptom of depression is pervasive sadness. But it’s important to know that there is a significant difference. Sadness is a normal emotion that is usually triggered by a hurtful, challenging, or disappointing experience, event, or situation. We tend to feel sad about something. When that something changes or when we adjust or accept it, our emotional hurt tends to fade. With depression it’s not the same.

Depression is a mental illness that affects our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a pervasive manner. We feel sad about everything. With depression, sometimes that sadness is present despite the fact that, from the outside looking in, everything is going well. Depression doesn’t require a specific event, situation, or experience as a trigger. Depression infiltrates all aspects of our lives making everything less enjoyable and less important. Depression can be debilitating and significantly impact our daily life function.

The most common symptoms include a persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness or pessimism; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; a loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and once enjoyable activities; sleeping difficulties, including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or even excessive sleeping; eating difficulties, including eating too much or too little; fatigue, a lack of energy; thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts; a change in your mood, irritability or restlessness; difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.

Steps to take if you think you might be depressed: Some research suggests that the longer you wait or try to handle it on your own, the worse it can become. You can start by seeing your general practitioner, a therapist, or any doctor whose care you might be under. They can assess your need and help support connection to the appropriate resource if that’s needed. Other suggestions include increasing your activity or engaging in anything that brings you pleasure or joy. You can also talk to a trusted friend or relative and try definitely to stay active.

If you’re concerned about a loved one who seems depressed: It can be very difficult and challenging to live with someone that might be depressed. If you are concerned about a loved one, please try to take immediate action. Stay engaged with them and encourage them to see a medical professional. And if you suspect that they might be of danger to themselves or another, make sure to dial 911.

It’s important for people who are suffering to know that they are not alone and that they don’t have to suffer. So if they don’t want to seek help, try to keep them encouraged. Check on them and express your concerns and the benefits of getting help. Hopefully your persistence can support them to taking some next steps. Being concerned about a loved one who may be suffering from depression is very difficult. While you are encouraging and supporting your loved one and trying to help them
take the next steps, it’s important for you to know that there are many resources available. Explore your employee assistance program or meet with a therapist and talk with someone to help you navigate helping them.

Depression is the most treatable of all mental illnesses. There are various kinds of therapies that work. Treatment such as psychotherapy, support groups, and medication management are the most common treatments for depression. Don’t give up, find support. If you think you might be depressed, see a professional as soon as possible.
Call LifeWorks at 888-267-8126 or visit www.lifeworks.com (username: theaaa; password: lifeworks).

Employee Assistance Program, lifeworks