One day I was normal and then suddenly I wasn’t. I remember being a happy teenager with hopes and dreams, silly crushes, loving school, my family and friends. Then, I noticed that my dreams were being replaced by a sense of utter hopelessness and despair. Friends stopped being fun and school became drudgery. I was sixteen and all I knew was that getting out of bed every morning was becoming a struggle. This was the beginning of my seven-year battle with depression.
October is Depression Awareness Month. It is estimated that yearly over 19 million adults and approximately 33% of all teenagers suffer from depression in some form.
Referred to as the “dark night of the soul,” this disease is not always easily diagnosed. In fact, for most of my depression, I simply thought I had just become short-tempered and mean. I hated my bad attitude, but I didn’t have the energy—or mental wherewithal—for anything else. Negative thoughts consumed me and I sought solace in isolation. It wasn’t until others confronted my harsh exterior and stopped letting me hide that I mustered the courage to ask for help.
Maybe you or someone you love is dealing with depression and perhaps you don’t even know it! Here are a few signs and suggestions for turning on the lights and outing depression:
1. PMS Every Day: Depression sends our emotions into overwhelm and constant irritability may be a sign that something is wrong. During the “dark night of the soul” nothing feels normal.
For me, regular daily tasks became energy-draining chores. Brushing my teeth, combing my hair—such simple things—required focus. I was channeling all my energy into keeping it together—so dealing with others quickly sent me into emotional withdrawal, which played out in spurts of anger, irritation and even acting overly passive. I just couldn’t deal!
2. Fashion Failure: Before my depression, fashion was one of my passions. I loved dressing up—even for high school. To be honest, I was a bit over the top! But gradually, I lost interest and stopped caring about my appearance. If you notice a change in a loved one’s appearance—or your own desire for self-care—it could be a sign of something more.
3. Monday Morning Every Morning: My sophomore year, during Christmas break, I headed back to school a week before classes resumed. I spent that entire week alone in my room only getting out of bed to shower and eat. The rest of my days were spent sleeping, crying and watching TV. I couldn’t face the world outside my door. Daily dread is a telltale that help is needed to regain normalcy.
There are varying levels and types of depression. Some are seasonal based on your life’s circumstances—such as navigating a job loss. Others, however, may require the help of family and professionals. Take this Depression Test—or share it with a loved one.
Regardless of your results from the test, if you think you—or a loved one—are depressed, seek professional help. Equally important is reaching out to others for support. Asking for help when you need it isn’t a sign of weakness…it’s one of strength! Journaling played a pivotal role in my healing and growth.
Define Your Wealth! Affirm today: “I am committed to my emotional health. I will do what it takes to be my best, so that I can help myself and others.”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.