Depression: Seasonal and regional

Reading Time: 5 minutes Depression is a hard thing to live with, and the bleak Utah winters only make it worse.

Reading Time: 5 minutes
All information taken from The NIMH website. (except for suicide contact info)

Where to get help.

On campus: go to the Student Health Services SC 221 801-863-8876

They also offer help for those who are contemplating suicide, just let them know.

National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255

The National Institute of Mental Health offers help for those suffering from depression as well.

Depression Statistics.

Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in 2007.

Four times as many males commit suicide than females.

In people ages 15-24 suicide was the third leading cause of death.

Women are 70% more likely to experience depression in their lifetimes than men

People ages 18-29 are 70% more likely to experience depression than someone 60+

Signs of Depression:

Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings

Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

Irritability, restlessness

Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

Fatigue and decreased energy

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

Overeating, or appetite loss

Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

How can I help myself?:

Do not wait too long to get evaluated or treated. There is research showing the longer one waits, the greater the impairment can be down the road. Try to see a professional as soon as possible.

Try to be active and exercise. Go to a movie, a ballgame, or another event or activity that you once enjoyed.

Set realistic goals for yourself.

Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.

Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.

Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.

Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.

Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.

Continue to educate yourself about depression.

End of Info Box information

I’ll begin with a disclaimer. I am in no way a doctor, or a therapist, or have any kind of degree that means I am an expert on the subject of depression. I’m just a guy who has experienced the worst of what depression has to offer, and I want to help. If you feel like you can’t take it anymore, and want to give up, call the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, as some with a twisted sense of humor refer to it, is a form of depression that sets in due to winter weather. It could be a combination of multiple factors, ranging from the lack of sunlight to the stress of the holiday season. The only thing that really matters is that if affects many people, and, more importantly, it really sucks.

When it comes to depression, most have a cloudy view of how it works. It’s not something easily explained. I may live and struggle with it every day, but that doesn’t mean I have the ability to explain it. I will try my best.

Depression isn’t something you think about. It’s something you are. It hides deep in your mind, constantly nagging at you that something is wrong. Everything feels like a waste of time. Things you once enjoyed become chores, you feel disconnected from friends and family. Something as simple as getting out of bed becomes a concentrated effort.

Your depression may make you feel like you can’t share your problems with others. It’s a difficult burden to bear, and sometimes it can feel like you’re all alone in the world, but the truth is, you’re not. People all around the world are struggling to make it through every day just like you.

Since I deal with depression all year round, this time of year only makes it worse. My personal and professional lives start to slowly give, and I become a shell of the person I normally am. My relationships start to suffer, and I push away my friends and my family. The further I push them away, the worse my depression becomes, creating a cycle that is hard to break free from.

Some of you may find yourselves in this same situation. I’d like to say everything will be fine, and that you’ll be alright. I wish I could look someone like me in the eye and be able to say that, but it just isn’t true. Deppression is an endeavor. It’s not something that you can just get over. You can fight it for a while, but it won’t be long before you collapse under the burden of it all.

That may all be a little, well, depressing, but there is something you can do. Seek help. Go out and talk to someone. Tell them how you’re feeling. You don’t have to deal with it alone, and if you look around you will be able to find someone to help you through your tough times.

What if the person is dismissive, or just tells you to “get over it?” Find someone else, or if you can’t, try to stress the importance of how you are feeling. Let them know that this isn’t something you can just get over, that it matters that they are there for you. That you truly need their help to get through this.

Now, let’s talk to the other side for a moment, to those who don’t suffer from depression.

It’s a hard thing to comprehend if you’ve never felt it before, but depression is crippling. It’s not just being sad, it’s something far worse. The worst thing you can possibly do if a friend or family member comes to you about being depressed is dismiss it. Even if they are just feeling sad, listening to them is just a good thing to do. Even if it’s not as a friend. It’s a good thing to do just as one human to another.

One important thing to remember when helping someone with depression is to not try and make it about you at all. Sometimes trying to empathise hurts the situation. It may help, but in my experience talking to people it just made me feel like they were trying to solve my problems, when they really couldn’t.

Just listen. I can’t stress this enough.

If you are asked for your input then feel free to offer the best advice you can, but don’t tell someone that you know how they feel.

Be sure to tell them you are there for them, and if someone really needs to talk, try your best to be there. Be available for your friends who suffer from depression, and even the ones who don’t. Just be a good friend.

To be honest, that is the best advice I can give for helping people with depression. Be there, and be a good friend.

Living with depression is somthing people do. It’s not easy, and sometimes people give in to what they feel is an overwhelming force. You can help yourself by reaching out for help, and you can help those suffering by being there for them.

Cameron Simek is the Opinions editor for the UVU Review at Utah Valley University. He can be reached at [email protected], and on twitter @Skabomb.