Dealing w/ Depression
Written by Alyssa Cox
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DEALING W/ DEPRESSION
September 1, 2020
Depression is not one size fits all and that’s one of the many things people misunderstand about mental illness in general. So just because there are nine vague categories of depression disorders, there are hundreds of sub-categories. So if these symptoms don’t seem to fit you perfectly, that’s okay.
According to Healthline.com, “16.2 million adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one major depressive episode.”
While reading this article, please keep in mind that there is a major difference in depression, sadness, and being tired. Depression is a diagnosable disorder that most of the time takes medication to keep under control. Sadness and being tired are normal human emotions and reactions. Everyone is sad and tired sometimes, that doesn’t mean you have depression. So don’t freak out if you’re experiencing some of the things you read below. If you are experiencing all of them, or more than half, consult your doctor.
Major Depressive Disorder, MDD
Suffering from MDD myself, I understand that it’s a broad term. But it’s meant to be for broad depression. Unlike other types of depression that are triggered by certain things or last a certain amount of times, MDD doesn’t have to be triggered by something and it has no time limit. It’s just… there.
Does that mean there’s no hope? Of course not? There is always hope. Below is a list of symptoms for MDD.
Grief or gloom
Thoughts of hurting yourself/others
Lucid dreaming and nightmares
Out-of-whack sleep schedule
Loss of appetite, or overeating
Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
Lack of concentration, and/or memory issues
Feelings of hopelessness or low self-esteem
Now, I know what you’re thinking. This just sounds like being a teenager or having the flu. But it’s not just that. When these symptoms persist over a large amount of time and appear to have no rhyme or reason, that’s when you know you have trouble on your hands. The good news is, these symptoms can be easily treated with some therapy or maybe even medication. Just knowing that you’re not alone, can help.
Persistent Depression Disorder, PDD
PDD, while very much similar to MDD, PDD tends to last two years or more and usually isn’t as intense as MDD. The biggest difference between the two is time. Major Depressive Disorder can last a few weeks, or all of your life, while Persistent Depressive Disorder lasts a few years or longer. The symptoms are as follows.
Feelings of inadequacy
Lack of interest/concentration in things you once enjoyed
Difficulty function at school or work
Slow or tiredness and oversleeping
Inability to feel happy
I understand that these symptoms sound scary and the fact that they can last for years or even a whole lifetime is even worse. But there is a rainbow through the clouds. Commonly these symptoms will lighten for several months before worsening again. But this can be treated with therapy and medication quite easily.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, PMDD
The premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, or as girls know it, PMS. So yes, sometimes a girl period is so bad, that it gives her depression leading up to and during her cycle. The difference between PMS and PMDD is the severity and also form. PMS reigns down on physical things, while PMDD reigns on psychological factors that interrupt the daily routine.
PMS brings irritability, while PMDD carries severe, and sometimes life-threatening depression.
Your normal period symptoms (cramps, headaches, tenderness in the breast and vaginal area)
Sadness or despair
Irritability and breakdowns
Extreme mood swings
Food cravings and/or overeating
Lack of energy or motivation
Out-of-whack sleep schedule
Like PMS, scientists believe PMDD is hormone triggered and can worsen if you already have depression. In this case, it's called Double Depression. But don’t be afraid that someone will make fun of you, and don't just brush it off as PMS. There have been cases of suicide where PMDD was to blame. You are not alone.
Unlike some of the other depressions listed above, I am not familiar with depressive psychosis or any of its sister names. So I had to do quite a bit of research for it. I’ve found that Healthline.com words it best—
“Some people with major depression also go through periods of losing touch with reality. This is known as psychosis, which can involve hallucinations and delusions. Experiencing both of these together is known clinically as major depressive disorder with psychotic features. However, some providers still refer to this phenomenon as depressive psychosis or psychotic depression.
“Hallucinations are when you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel things that aren’t there. An example of this would be hearing voices or seeing people who aren’t present. A delusion is a closely held belief that’s false or doesn’t make sense. But to someone experiencing psychosis, all of these things are very real and true.
“Depression with psychosis can cause physical symptoms as well, including problems sitting still or slowed physical movements.”
Bipolar Depression Disorder/Manic Depression
Bipolar Depression Disorder, is one of the commonly known depression disorders. YOu see it on TV commercials and social media survival stories. But how much do you know about Bipolar?
Bipolar causes episodes of manic moods, where you feel like you’re superman and you can take on the world. But even that can be harmful because you over-plan, you overcook, you overdo everything. And then the crash hits. After the manic episode wears off, the suicidal, gut-wrenching depression settles.
Below are the symptoms of a manic episode.
Racing thoughts and speech
Increased self-esteem and confidence
Unusual, impulsive, and self-destructive behavior
Feeling elated, “high,” or euphoric
And below are the symptoms of a depression episode, much like Major Depressive Disorder.
Feelings of sadness or emptiness
Lack of energy
Loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
Perinatal Depression, often called Postpartum Depression
The medical term for Perinatal Depression is Major Depressive Disorder with a Peripartum Onset, but it is often confused with Postpartum Depression. Though they fall under the same category, Postpartum happens after a pregnant woman gives birth, while Perinatal is while the woman is still pregnant.
I think we’re all faintly familiar with the depression women have when pregnant, and much like PMDD, it is caused by the range of hormones spiraling out of control within the body. Alongside that, the physical pain and lack of sleep that happens during pregnancy can worsen this depression.
Anxiety or fear
Anger, or fits of rage
Thoughts/actions of harming yourself or the baby
Constant worry about the baby
Difficulty caring for yourself
Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as Seasonal Depression, is clinically known as Major Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Patterns. This depression is caused by the change of the seasons, but mostly from the transition of fall to winter. This is understandable; watching all the leaves fall and pretty flowers die can be very depressing.
SAD ranges in severity, depending on the person. For some people, it's just small loneliness and mourning for the flowers and animals. For others, it can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
It is believed that SAD is caused by the amount of daylight and vitamin Done may get during the dark, winter months. With the shorter days, less sunny days, and cold weather, the symptoms below can occur.
Weight gain or loss
Feelings of sadness or loneliness
Increased need for sleep
While I understand that these sound no fun at all, the good news is, it does fade. Once spring rolls around and the days get longer, these symptoms begin to ease up.
Atypical Depression means that this depression comes and goes based on events or the reaction of those around you. This disorder centers on body image or self-thought issues. This depression is difficult because you don't always seem to be depressed or sad, and you can even fool yourself into thinking that you’re normal when your thoughts say different things.
Most common in younger women and teens, it can be seen in males too. Despite the name, this is one of the most common depressions, but often people with it don't think they have depression at all. Below is a list of symptoms provided by Healthline.com
Increased appetite and weight gain
Poor body image
Sleeping much more than usual
Heaviness in your arms or legs that lasts an hour or more a day
Feelings of rejection and sensitivity to criticism
Assorted aches and pains
Atypical Depression is one that can occur alongside other depression disorders. It's most common to appear during Major Depressive Disorder or Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Situational Depression is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an adjustment disorder, varying depending on what's happening around you. Whether you’re moving or starting a new school, or maybe you have a new little sister on the way that you're not happy about. It's very common and luckily does not last any longer than the situation itself.
It often occurs during the death or injury of a loved one, divorce, or other legal issues. Below is a list of symptoms.
So now you know all nine types of depression and their symptoms. Do you think you have one of the above medical conditions? I’m not a doctor, but I highly recommend seeing your physician or a counselor before it's too late? Depression is not a joke, and should not be taken lightly. But trust