Today is World Health Day and this year’s focus is on depression. I find it fitting because I know people who have this illness who are afraid to share their experience due to the current stigma and misconceptions. Plus, Netflix’s show, Thirteen Reasons Why, delves into this disorder BUT does not do anything to show viewers how to handle/manage it. If anything, the show can trigger sufferers because of the graphic nature (Pleeeeease, if you think you can relate to Hannah, I encourage you to stop watching it. )
Depression has different forms with major depression, persistent depressive disorder, other specified depressive disorder and unspecified depressive disorder among them. There are specific criteria required for each as stated by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). Psychiatrists determine the severity and duration of the depressed mood to be formally diagnosed as it is a common misconception that sadness equals to this disorder. (ICSI,2017)
Dr. Carey Gross of Massachusetts General Hospital developed SIGECAPS, an acronym for the symptoms of major depression and persistent depressive disorder. It stands for:
- Sleep disorder (increased or decreased)
- Interest deficit (anhedonia)
- Guilt (worthlessness, hopelessness, regret)
- Energy deficit
- Concentration deficit
- Appetite disorder (increased or decreased)
- Psychomotor retardation or agitation
Five or more of its symptoms have been present in a two-week or more period. Please remember NOT to self-diagnose; seek a healthcare professional.
Depression prevention is rare even in other countries. The prevalence rate worldwide ranges from 2.6% to 29.5%. (Oro-Josef, 2014) In the Philippines, every three hours and a half, a person commits suicide. (Butuyan, 2016)
Do not lose hope! There are treatments available such as medications and therapies. 🙂
My Self-Care Practices
My depression is co-morbid (aka related!) with my other illnesses: it is part of my bipolar type 2 mood disorder, affects anxiety disorders, and intensified by fibromyalgia. As such, my treatment plan is coordinated across all my illnesses; I have a team of doctors who help me manage them. Besides therapy and medications, I developed my own self-care practices. Here are some:
- Alert my primary care (my family, my boyfriend, and my doctors) when I notice that my depressed mood is severe. It is hard to open up at first but I know I have more chances of overcoming the episode with them around.
- Follow a daily-routine even on days I do not want to move. Small victories such as not overeating/undereating and taking a bath do wonders.
- Do meditation/mindful breathing. I am a convert of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy because it helps me change my mindset to something less negative. Plus, the stability I reach = priceless.
- Respect my body’s limits aka I rest. A lot. I used to conform to the world’s obsession with being busy but I found out that such toxic lifestyle only worsens my conditions. Eeeek.
- On days I feel a lot of despair, I eat ice cream. I watch my favorite movies. I let silence hug me until I am ready to be hugged by a loved one.
- Keep a list of loved ones I am comfortable with. This is so I know who I can invite to hang-out when something is troubling me or when I just want to have fun.
- Lessen social media use / social media detox every now and then.
- Write and make art.
I hope this post *enlightens* you, even just a little, about depression. If you have any questions/comments/reactions, please do not hesitate to reach out. You have my ears. 🙂