I am reading a book titled: This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression by Daphne Merkin. I have chosen this book from my local library to understand depression and depressive symptoms more. I have read other books about depression and suicide. I have studied this topic in graduate school and when I worked as a therapist with youth, and as an Intensive Case Manager with adults. I have worked with older adults for 18 years and depression still comes up, along with many other topics and illnesses.
The statistics are alarming and according to this book and information from 2012 and 2014; “Depression is a global problem affecting 350 million worldwide, in the USA, 16 million had at least one major depressive episode in 2012, and in 2014 there were 40,000 deaths by suicide.”
It breaks my heart to list this here. But I am sure we all know someone that has been affected by a depressive episode, a major depression, acute depression or is afflicted with it on and off. I know I do.
I myself have had low points or dark moments as I believe we all have. Mine were induced by circumstances and life events; death of loved ones, miscarriages, divorce process, child custody issues, and financial issues. I was lucky to have amazing friends, colleagues, and family that listened to me and offered good advice and support.
As a society we need to realize that life events, circumstances, natural disasters and more can trigger a depressive episode or dark moments for those where it is briefer. For those who have or will battle depression on and off their whole life, whether it is genetic predisposition, brain chemicals, environment, an event that triggers its onset- the battle is not easy.
Depression is a mood disorder and is not a disease like physical body ones-diabetes, cardiac, high blood pressure, etc. Scientists are still doing research and have suggested a 40% link with genetics with environmental making up the other 60%-nothing definitive though. Time will tell.
Merkin describes in the book: “Someone who is at the mercy of her own mind the way she is, pickled in the brine of self-hatred: the fact that there is no way out of the reality of being her, no relief in sight other than through forceful or at least conscientious intervention- talk therapy, medication, attempts at forced-march making…” or ” She feels isolated, stuck in a cave of grief, of ancient and permanent sorrow.”
It is a sadness that most do not want to talk about in public. People seem to talk freely about AA-Alcoholics Anonymous, a stint in rehab for alcohol or drug addiction, but depression and suicide? No…
Part of my writing articles such as these is to raise awareness, let people know they are not alone in their thoughts, to know there is help out there should one want it.
There are apps one can download to their phone to monitor feelings and triggers, provide resource information, numbers to call or text to talk or chat with a trained individual.
There are many professional support groups, online peer support groups and chat groups, organizations and agencies that focus on mental health, positive wellness both physical and mental+. Many employers have Employee Assistance programs for staff to avail themselves of should they need it. Turn to friends, family, colleagues for additional support and guidance. Know you are not alone.
As has been stated in past posts: Mental Health and
Youth, Cyberbullying and Adults, and Can Bullying Lead to Suicide all have great resource information within along with websites, phone numbers, and chat numbers to contact in Canada and the USA.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) on Mental Health, 5.4% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and over reported symptoms that met the criteria for a mood disorder in the previous 12 months. Almost one in 8 adults (12.6%) identified symptoms that met the criteria for a mood disorder at some point during their lifetime, including 11.3% for depression. One episode of major depression is a strong predictor of future episodes. More than 50% of individuals who have an episode of major depression experience a recurrence. (About mental illness, Canada.ca)
Depression is one of the most common forms and symptoms of mental illness in the United States, with around 7.4 percent of adults suffering from depression as of 2016. As of 2017, the percentage has increased to 20%. (Statista.com) Age 40-59 is the age range for the highest rates of depression.
You are not alone…you may feel like you are sometimes. Reach out, force yourself to go out, to socialize, to take a walk in nature, to go to work. As the image for this post states, “No matter how you feel. Get up, dress up, show up, and never give up.”