Disclaimer: I am not a health-care professional.
The information contained here is neither intended nor implied
to to be a substitute for professional medical advice. This guide
is for informational purposes only, and is in no way meant to take the
place of a visit to and advice from a health-care professional. Always
seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider
prior to starting any new treatment, or with any questions you may have
regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in this service
is intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.
I suffer from depression, and I have noticed that quite a few of those whom
I've talked to also suffer from this illness. I've put up this page
so that you who may suffer from it, or know someone that does, can be better
able to identify it and seek treatment. You don't have to feel like
you do, -- and you don't have to bear it alone. If you feel that the
criteria below fits you, then I urge you to seek help.
I realize that with depression being classified as a "mental illness", it
carries a stigma attached to it by the ignorant people in our society. But
you should not let ignorant people stand in your way of getting better! It
takes guts to say, "I need help", but YOU have to be the one to take that
first step; I can only provide some resources to direct you along your path
Being "depressed" does not mean being "insane" or "crazy". Being
depressed does not mean that someone who suffers from it is lazy or
weak or at fault for their illness. Being depressed is different from
being "down in the dumps" or "blue".
In many areas, there are local or community resources that you can get hooked
up with that will help you out if you have a limited income, so do not let
financial concerns stand in your way. You will need to inquire about
what resources are available when you go in to talk with a doctor. Help
is there; all you gotta do is ask for it.
I also have some useful resources at the bottom of the page for some various
other things that people may be dealing with.
The core symptoms of depression are:
loss of energy and interest
a feeling of physical illness or of being rundown
altered appetite and sleep
a slowing down of physical and mental functions
Depression is an illness, just like diabetes or heart disease are illnesses.
It affects the entire body, not just the mind. One out of every
5 people will suffer from depression at some point in their life.
Depression affects anyone, whether one is young or old, rich or poor,
regardless of race or sex; however, it affects women twice as much as men.
Depression is the leading cause of alcoholism, drug abuse and other
addictions. The leading cause of suicide is depression.
Though depression is an illness that can be successfully treated in more
than 8 out of 10 people, over half those suffering from depression do not
get proper treatment.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It is not a character flaw
or a sign of weakness; neither is it the same as feeling glum or blue.
People, not understanding that depression is an illness, often say
to a depressed person, "Snap out of it" or "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps",
when it is not something that they can "snap out of." The depressed
person is not to blame for his or her illness!
Wings of Madness: What
Does Depression Feel Like?
The main types of depression:
This disorder is characterized by a mood disturbance lasting more than 2
weeks. Symptoms include overwhelming feelings of sadness and grief and loss
of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy. In general,
its the severity and duration of symptoms that distinguish major
Feelings of sadness, emptiness and/or irritability
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities normally enjoyed
Changes in weight or appetite
Changes in sleeping pattern
Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
Inability to think, concentrate, remember things, or make decisions
Constant fatigue or loss of energy
Observable restlessness or decreased activity
Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
The symptoms are not better accounted for by bereavement, i.e., after the
loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are
characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with
worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.
Dysthymia (dis-THI-me-uh) is a less severe but more continuous form of
depression. It lasts for at least 2 years and often more than 5 years.
Symptoms usually arent disabling, and periods of dysthymia can
alternate with short periods of feeling normal. People with dysthymia
have increased risk for major depression.
This disorder is characterized by an overwhelming yet chronic state of
depression, exhibited by a depressed mood for most of the days, for more
days than not, for at least 2 years. (In children and adolescents,
mood can be irritable and duration must be at least 1 year.) The person
who suffers from this disorder must not have gone for more than 2 months
without experiencing two or more of the following symptoms:
poor appetite or overeating
insomnia or hypersomnia
low energy or fatigue
poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
feelings of hopelessness
Some people with depression have recurrent cycles of depression and elation
(mania). Because the condition involves emotions at both extremes,
or poles, its called bipolar disorder or manic-depressive disorder.
Mania affects your judgement and can cause problems, such as spending
money recklessly or making unwise decisions. Some people have bursts
of increased creativity and productivity during the manic phase.
For many, the manic symptoms include:
Feelings of euphoria, extreme optimism, and inflated self-esteem
Rapid speech, disconnected and racing thoughts, agitation, and increased
Poor judgment and reckless activity
Extreme or inappropriate excitement or irritability
Inflated ego, envisioning of grand schemes
Increased energy and decreased need for sleep
Increased talking and/or moving
Impulsive or thoughtless behavior and poor judgement
Unwarranted or exaggerated belief in one's own ability
Rapid, unpredictable emotional change
For depression, signs and symptoms include:
Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, or hopelessness
Recurring thoughts of suicide
Fatigue and loss of interest in daily activities
Difficulty in concentrating
Disturbances in sleep and appetite
Bipolar support groups are available. For more information, contact
the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (DMDA) at #
Seasonal affective disorder
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a pattern of major depression related
to changes in seasons. "Affective" means "emotional," and some of the
primary effects of SAD relate to feelings. Yet SAD affects behavior
The common signs and symptoms of SAD include:
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Increased sleep or need for sleep
- Loss of interest in sex
- Increased appetite, especially foods high in carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating and processing information
Many people with depression have symptoms of anxiety as well. Anxiety
that develops after age 40 is often related to depression rather than being
an independent problem. Exaggerated worry, called an anxiety disorder,
often goes hand-in-hand with depression. With an anxiety disorder,
you may feel apprehension, nervousness and a nagging uneasiness about your
future. In some people, anxiety disorders mimic a heart attack, with
symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and palpitations, sweating and dizziness.
Other symptoms include headaches, insomnia and relentless fatigue.
More info and some resources:
Toward the Light: Mental
Health, Depression, OCD, Panic Disorder, Anxiety and Agoraphobia Information
Depression Alliance Website
-- in the UK
The National Mental Health Association Information Center
# 1-800-969-NMHA (6642)
* for the Information Center, to get info on local resources,
press 0 (zero) and then # (the pound key), and ask for the information
center; the operator will transfer you.
Other helpful hotlines and resources:
Well, I started out to find a few numbers for depression, suicide, etc,,
and I keep finding so many useful hotlines...
National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline: # 1-800-662-HELP
SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends): # 1-800-DONT-CUT (1-800-366-8288)
National Domestic Violence Hotine(NDV Hotline): # 1-800-799-SAFE
(1-800-799-7233) & 1-800-787-3224 (TDD for the hearing impaired)
3616 Far West Boulevard
Austin, TX 78731-3074
The NDV Hotline is sponsored by Texas Council on Family Violence and refers
women anywhere in the U.S. who have been abused to local temporary shelters
and legal services.
KID SAVE: Referrals to shelters, mental health services, sexual
abuse treatment, substance abuse, family counseling, residential care,
adoption/foster care, etc. # 1-800-543-7283
National Youth Crisis Hotline: # 1-800-HIT-HOME (1-800-448-4663)
National Runaway Switchboard: Lists of shelters, counseling;
food pantries; transportation. Suicide & crisis counseling. Message
relay from kids to parents or from parents to kids, 3-way calls arranged.
National Child Abuse Hotline: # 1-800-25-ABUSE (1-800-252-2873)
Support Network for Spanish-Speaking Battered Women: #
Intervention: Having a Crisis? -- Crisis Intervention of Houston, Inc.
is a United Way Agency dedicated to helping people in crisis through telephone
crisis counseling, referrals, intervention, postvention and education.
It's local to Houston, TX, but it has excellent information on what
to do in various situations.
Support-Group.com allows people with health, personal, and relationship issues
to share their experiences through Bulletin Boards & Online Chat.
It also has a wealth of links to support-related information on the
Internet. (No, I'm not listed there. *Sangi sez dryly* Go
SuicideHotlines.com -- When You
Feel You Can't Go On... Call a Suicide Hotline. Direction for immediate
crisis intervention for the gravely suicidal & treatment for major clinical