The topic of depression is one that makes people uncomfortable. Not quite a “taboo” but something not openly discussed. As a society we openly discuss sex, it is portrayed on television and hinted at in advertising. At one time sex was not discussed. Period. No one talked about it. EVER! Depression is in that category of things NOT to talk about.
Why? Unlike sex, where we feel powerful and potent, depression has the opposite connotation. Weakness.
A depressed person hides their dilemma from friends and family. Often times the affected person goes to great lengths to divert attention away from themselves. Making excuses for why they can’t sleep or why they seem to be sleeping all the time. Excuses for why they no longer take part in family activities, go to school or work, join friends to social gatherings, or leave the house.
The affected person has difficulty meeting family needs. Something as simple as going to the grocery store for a gallon of milk gets put off. Taking a shower and regular grooming gets put off. Household chores are put off. Life gets put off. While the rest of the world continues to go on around the depressed person their life is in a stand still. The mental anguish they go through exacerbates the problem. The depressed person digs their hole deeper by berating themselves for not doing what is required of them.
Family and friends of the person going through depression don’t understand what is happening to the person they care about. The sudden outbursts of anger, emotional and physical withdrawal, the sadness in the eyes of the affected person. All of the well meaning questions of “What is the matter?” are met with “Nothing, never mind”. Family and friends are blocked out, all attempts to engage and entice the person back into life are batted away and dismissed. It can be terribly confusing to those around you that are not experiencing what you are experiencing.
The worst part about depression is the feeling of being smothered in anguish and believing that others won’t understand. The truth of the matter is that others do understand and want to help. Family and friends see you in trouble and want to help. Their attempts to draw you out and get answers are aimed at finding a place to grab on to you and pull you back into life. Contrary to what you perceive, the questions and suggestions are not meant to be critical or mean spirited.
My personal journey through depression over the years, and the treatments of it, have blessed me with knowledge. Yes, it is totally advisable for me to see a doctor. Possibly get back on some form of medication. As I indicated in my previous post stress is one of my triggers. Odd as it may seem, my other trigger is winter. The shorter days of sunlight and the cold play a part in the onsets of my depression. Toss in a stimulus for total infantile rebellion – quit smoking – and the lid blew off this year. Whoompf. The bomb blew.
Here is a link to an internet site with a test for depression.
Here are my answers to the questions.
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night? (a) Yes, often; (b) Yes, occasionally; (c) No.
- Check any of the following that apply to you most nights: (a) Nightmares; (b) Tossing/turning; (c) Frequent waking.
- How often do you feel tired and run-down? (a) Most of the time; (b) Occasionally; (c) Rarely. You try sleeping in a bed that is as hard as the floor one night, then depressed in the middle causing you to roll inward the next night, and another night a bed that is soft and feels good at first then you wake with a stiff back that makes it hard to move, and the next night your side of the bed has been sat on for the past 10 years and has a permanent indentation which makes you feel you will be hurled to the floor at a moments notice. Ahhh, the luxury of hotel beds.
- In the last six months, have you gained a lot of weight or lost a lot (not due to dieting)? (a) Yes; (b) No. I’ve lost about 30 pounds in nine months. However, I did show on My Fitness Pal a loss of 79 pounds overnight. Joe entered his weight by mistake using my phone.
- Has your sex drive become seriously diminished? (a) Yes; (b) No; (c) It fluctuates.
- Has a parent or sibling been diagnosed with a depressive disorder? (a) Yes; (b) No. My mother had some type of mental illness which would be akin to Manic/Depressive.
- Do you often feel that life is not worth living? (a) Yes; (b) No. However, I did attempt to take my life in 1995 by taking an overdose of my prescription drug Imipramine, waking in the hospital being force fed a slurry of charcoal. That occasion taught me change has to come from within and I had to be ready to make the changes necessary, not force my family to make them.
- How would you rate your daily levels of stress and anxiety? (a) High; (b) Medium; (c) Low. This question does not include the choice of “It fluctuates”. Some days I have high anxiety, other days I have no anxiety. Get home for periods of longer than a few days and the anxiety level is back up in the high range with my expectations of being the “Perfect Person” and achieving a month of regular work in the span of seven days – or less.
- Do you experience any delusions or hallucinations? (a) Yes; (b) No.
- Does your mood take a turn for the worse as winter approaches? (a) Yes; (b) No. The winter holidays don’t help my mood, the further winter progresses the worse my mood becomes.
- Are you in a relationship? (a) Yes; (b) No.
- Do you “put on a happy face” to hide feelings of sadness? (a) Yes; (b) No. I’m not sad all the time. It is easier to just go with the flow and get passed the sadness.
- What is you “least favorite season”? (a) Winter; (b) Spring; (c) Summer; (d) Fall.
- Is it difficult to remember the last time you were happy? (a) Yes; (b) No. I was happy in August with my family at Disney World, and remained so until the first part of November when Joe was in the hospital for his emergency appendectomy. Then the holidays were upon me…..oops.
- Do you sometimes feel out of control and lose all good judgement? (a) Yes; (b) No. SOMETIMES being the operative word in this question.
- How would you describe your mood over the past several months? (a) A roller coaster; (b) A long, dark tunnel; (c) A bumpy ride; (d) A smooth ride. Past several months being the winter holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. That was a bumpy ride.
- How would you rate your self esteem? (a) Low, all the time; (b) Moderate, all the time; (c) High, all the time; (d) Fluctuates a little; (e) Fluctuates a lot. Ask me on a day when I have labored over a greeting card or successfully driven through rush hour traffic in downtown Kansas City, Missouri or through Los Angeles, California, or said “Thank God” when I got to the outskirts of New York City!
- Did you have a learning disorder or ADHD as a child? (a) Yes; (b) No. No learning disorder, just never too thrilled being surrounded by the teeming crowds of people in schools.
- Do you have trouble concentrating or remembering things? (a) Yes; (b) No. Travel as frequently as I do, cross multiple state lines in one day, and live my life on the black ribbon of asphalt one day melds with the next. The oft used phrase I have when asked where we came from is “That was more than 5 minutes ago”.
- Do you think that sadness and disappointment are a regular part of life, and that “happy” people are only deceiving themselves? (a) Yes; (b) No. There was a time in my life that I DID think like that. Thank God my life has changed for the better these past 22 years and I no longer think this way about life and happiness. Plus I have a lot of people to thank for that. Namely one person who helped me a lot….Pinky aka Anita. One totally awesome therapist/counselor!
- Have you been through a recent traumatic event, such as divorce, death of a loved one, or losing your job? (a) Yes; (b) No.
- Have you developed food cravings, particularly for carbs and junk food? (a) Yes; (b) No. Truth is, my cravings for junk food have not been recent. I’ve craved chocolate and potato chips for a long time. Hmmmmm, wonder what chocolate covered potato chips would taste like?
- Do you have any children? (a) Yes; (b) No. I have chosen to answer this question as NO. Indeed, I do have children. Many of them. However they are all grown and gone from home leading successful lives on their own. Our current home does not include children living with us, nor have we had children at home in nearly 20 years. Wait….unless I am to count myself as a child. That could change the answer to yes because I am famous, if not anything else, for having a temper tantrum that would put any three year old to shame.
- Do you try to avoid dealing with other people? (a) Yes; (b) No. By nature, I am a loner. I don’t require being surrounded by a lot of people and engaging in conversations. Joe will occasionally drive me bonkers with his desire to talk all the time. But I love my man and am very thankful for him.
- Have you lost interest in things that you used to enjoy? (a) Yes; (b) No. Unfortunately, I have lost all creative desire. My craft room, full of delightful toys, papers, and embellishments no longer makes my heart beat faster and my spirit soar. That saddens me greatly.
- Do you have any chronic pain, headaches, etc. that are not due to a known illness? (a) Yes; (b) No.
- Do you have periods during which you feel unusually confident and ambitious? (a) Yes; (b) No. That questions goes along with losing interest in something that I once enjoyed.
- Do you live in the northern or southern hemisphere? (a) Northern; (b) Southern.
- Are you male or female? (a) Male; (b) Female.
- What is your age? (a) Under 18; (b) 18 to 29; (c) 30 to 39; (d) 40 to 49; (e) 50 to 59; (f) 60 to 69; (g) 70 plus.
- Check this box to agree to the following statement: “I understand that my test results will not represent a professional diagnosis and that this test is for educational/entertainment purposes only”. (a) Agree
- Do you sleep too much? (a) Yes; (b) No.
- Do you sometimes start crying for no specific reason? (a) Yes; (b) No. As a child I was constantly told that “crying” is a sign of weakness. Tears are a show of weakness. I learned how to shut that part of me totally off. I don’t cry. The feeling gets trapped in my throat once in a while and lasts about 50 seconds. I do have times when I wish I could cry, but those times are negligible.
- You said you were in a relationship. How would you describe it? (a) Happy; (b) Strained; (c) In-Between. I have been blessed with a fantastic husband who loves me through all of my occasional outbursts. He has given me the freedom to be me which has allowed me to grow into the woman I am learning what LOVE truly is.
- Which letter best corresponds to your latitude? (a) A; (b) B; (c) C; (d) D. I am geographically challenged when it comes to a map. I think the state of Oklahoma is within the B to C range lines.
- OPTIONAL SURVEY: Which antidepressant have you most recently used, if any? It has been well over 15 years since I have taken an anti-depressent .
According to this test I have a “Slight to Moderate” Major Depression; “Slight to Moderate” Dysthymia; “Very Slight” Bipolar Disorder; “Slight” Cyclothymia; “Very HIGH” Seasonal Affective Disorder; and Postpartum Depression is N/A.
If you take this test, KEEP IN MIND these questions are generalizations and not specific questions relating to you and your depression.
Well, it never hurts to get a little information. I may not be totally in love with the results but I do know that should I take this test to a psychiatrist or therapist there will be starting point questions that would help me to give answers for a proper diagnosis.
I think I’ll go with the “Seasonal Affected Disorder“. I like that result the best 😀