Depression: The Downward Spiral

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We all heard about the “Blue Mood” or comments like “Oh she’s got the blues today.”  But what does that  exactly mean? Actually, the term “blues” is another word used to describe a person who has depression. Being depressed is a normal human response to a sad, unfortunate, or tragic incident.  Depression can be the result of having unrealistic expectations like for instance a person aiming for this particular position ends up being by-passed because he doesn’t fit the qualifications. He may feel so down and angry about not getting the position even if deep in his heart, he knows that he is not really right for the job. People get depressed about different things at varying degrees.  But one thing is for sure, depression affects people from all walks of life.

Discouragement and adversities can surely make one feel like being in the bottom of the heap, so to speak. Take the case of a certain Mr. Miller. He was a man I met while traveling to Houston, Texas.  We were seated next to each other in a bus and I could not help notice that he was teary-eyed. It was quite unusual but I felt instant concern for this old man.  I boldly asked him if he was alright and asked whether I could be of any help?  He looked at me and then I saw saddest pair of eyes I have ever seen in my whole life.  Like water overflowing out of a dam, he poured out his life story. He told me that he was once a wealthy man but due to his gambling addiction and some bad business decisions, he eventually found himself bankrupt and saddled with debt.  In short—he lost everything including his family.  To make things worse, he discovered that his wife was having an affair, and that his one and only son was hooked on drugs, which explains why the boy was usually out of the house.

Business failure…financial ruin….marital strife….family troubles…all these can cause a person to fall into despair.   Rejection, too, is one of the main reasons why many become desperately lonely and troubled.   The Internet Age has brought many technological innovations that have made everyday life more convenient.  For instance, global communication and social networking is now so easy with the use of a computer with an Internet connection. People who are always rejected or have few friends can always use the Internet to meet new people and have their social needs met.  In some cases, solitary people with depression use the Internet as a means to “survive” in a vast, lonely world.

Among teenagers, rejection is a very serious issue.  The lack of self-identity and peer pressure have left many with a feeling of rejection.  Those who did not take the road to conformity are called by many names:  “geek”, “nerd”, “weirdo”, and a long list of other derogatory names.  Having many friends or being accepted is one of the simplest yet most important issues in the life of a teenager.  Just a simple look like a raised eyebrow, a sneer, or just the tone of the voice may be enough for a sensitive soul to feel rejected.  

Indeed, depression affects our activities, our thoughts and relationships. It is usually triggered by sudden, stressful events such as losing a job, financial loss, a marriage break-up, or the death of a loved. According to Norman Wright’s book,  Real Solutions for Overcoming Discouragement, Rejection and the Blues, “….depression can be caused by physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual problems, or by a combination of these. It can be caused by our self-defeating thinking or by separation from God. Yet it can also result from a shortage of malfunctioning of essential neurotransmitters in the brain.”

Depression, like any other human illness, must be treated and given appropriate attention.   To know whether you or people around you are suffering from the “blues”, just try to look for these signs:

Symptoms of Depression:

1.    Mood swings that  last more that a few days
2.    A sudden weigh loss or gain
3.    Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much)
4.    Loss of interest in all activities
5.    Restlessness
6.    Easily Distracted
7.    Unusual talkativeness
8.    Inability to concentrate or make simple decisions
9.    Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts

If you suspect your friend or relative is showing suicidal tendencies or if you hear morbid talk about death and dying…be alarmed!  Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among men living in the United States, although acts of suicide is more common among women.
    
Surely, moral support and encouragement is very important. Providing a depressed person a reliable support system composed of family, friends and other close members of the community. Finding a qualified health care professional who can give antidepressant prescriptions or the most effective antidepressant may also be considered. Together with proper counseling, family support, encouragement from friends, and medications — a person’s efforts to regain self-confidence and self-esteem may be rewarded in due time.

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