By Kerri-lyn Hernandez, Vice President

PET scans of the brain showing different activity levels in a person with depression compared to a person without depression (photo courtesy of Google Images)

PET scans of the brain showing different activity levels in a person with depression compared to a person without depression (photo courtesy of Google Images)

   Depression is “a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.” It is a “mental disorder (Dictionary.com).” These words seem scary, but fret not! If you have depression, you’re not alone. Nine percent of Americans reportedly suffer from depression (Webmd.com). Over one in ten Americans takes medicine to treat their depression. There is absolutely no shame in this. A good friend of mine made a statement this past week to another friend of mine saying, “If you’re diabetic you would take medicine wouldn’t you? So if you’re depressed, what’s wrong with taking medicine?”

   Let me make one thing clear. I am not under any circumstances saying that if you’re depressed you should be on medicine. First of all, there’s a difference between being depressed and actually having depression. Second of all, even if you have depression I’m not sure if you should be on medicine (maybe so, I’m not a doctor). There are different levels of depression. What I am saying is that there comes a point where you need to just break down and resort to medicine.

   Depression: you feel trapped, like you’re at the end of your ropes. You feel numb, or sad, or like enough is enough. You have a lack of energy and don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. You’re over tired, even if you got more than enough sleep. You feel stuck.

   Maybe you’re completely against medicine, that’s completely okay, it’s understandable. I will say that, in my opinion, I feel like a lot of people don’t fully understand what anti-depressants do. They don’t make you “not you.”  They balance out the chemicals inside of you that are uneven, to make you feel like you are you again.

   Maybe you just have seasonal affective disorder (which brings you down when the seasons change) or maybe you’ve struggled for years. Either way, it’s something to talk to about with your doctor. There’s no shame in that. What’s the worst that could happen from talking right? Plus, you’d be getting a professional person’s opinion that has dealt with this many times before. They know what they’re doing.

   Depression is serious. It drags you down and you can’t simply push yourself back up. Even if you’re good at hiding how you feel, you’re only masking your aching inner self. Talk to a friend, a family member, or a doctor. I say this with the utmost sincerity, if you at any point… ANY point, have so much as one suicidal thought, that’s when you need to just drop everything and go see a professional, such as a doctor. They’re not going to lock you away in a straightjacket. They’re going to praise you for going to talk to them, and they’re going to talk to you about your options. No shame.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).