“Depression in Minnesota has reached an all-time high” states a WDIO News Network article. It couldn’t be more accurate. According to Blue Cross Blue Shield of America, Minnesota is one of four states with the highest depression rates, only second to Utah when it comes to adolescents.
Depression is a serious mental illness, and should not be taken lightly. Two of the most common forms of depression are: Major depression- having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes, and Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)-having symptoms of depression that last for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with this form of depression may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:
Perinatal Depression: Women with perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression).
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
Psychotic Depression: This type of depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
Depression is defined as “feelings of severe despondency and dejection”, but it is so much more. Depression isn’t something that can be solved like an equation or pieced together like a puzzle. Imagine a little blue monster, a parasite, at the back of your mind, constantly calling you and waiting for something to set you off so it can start feeding off of self-hate and emotion. It waits for the perfect moment to strike.
When I was around nine, I had my first depressing thought. I had a few new members of my family and I was living a relatively stable life. I remember I was sitting in my fourth-grade math class when it happened. I heard a little voice in my head saying “Why do you even try?” and it went downhill from there. I wrote suicide notes and letters to my few friends and family, letters of running away or apologizing for being who I was. Depression caused me to spend most of my elementary years spending my afternoons in a small room with a therapist instead of playing outside with my classmates. Instead of sweet candy in the morning, I was taking three different pills, Anxiety, ADHD, and Depression. Instead of playing video games indoors I was hitting the spacebar when the “X” appeared. While my friends were experimenting with makeup and boys, I was trying to get out of bed in the morning without thinking “just end it all”. I’ve gotten better, but I still have days where I wish I could still be the innocent little child that didn’t have to get up at night to make sure their family was still alive and well.
There are multiple symptoms of depression, including
Tiredness- constant feeling or appearance of exhaustion
Lack of preference- always indecisive and tends to not care how they appear or what they do
Lack of Interest in previously enjoyed activities
Sudden loss/ gain of appetite or weight
Self harm-cutting, burning, biting, scratching, hitting, etc.
Suicidal thoughts or actions-”what would happen if I died tomorrow?”, “Why don’t I just end it all?”, and actually trying to commit suicide.
All of these contribute to signs to look out for. When you talk with a person that you know is thinking of suicide, do not hesitate to tell someone. Every second counts when it comes to a life. 16 people commit suicide every minute. If you know a person who is possibly suicidal, call the National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or talk to the closest hospice care center.