The most important thing for people everywhere who will read and hopefully share this article is the list of ways to seek help whenever someone feels sad, depressed, out of sync with the world, suicidal, or out of sorts in any way. If you’re not sure, but you don’t feel right or you’re scared, please call one of the numbers below or access information on their website, links provided.
We also invite you to attend It’s OKAY! Pause, Breathe, Proceed on Thursday, May 25, streaming at 6 pm CT / 7 pm ET. You can register here for this free event and hear from experts – medical, holistic and nutrition-oriented – who have your mental wellness at heart.
(800) 662-HELP (4357) National Helpline for mental and/or substance use disorders.
Call or text 988 – Suicide lifeline
(800) 799-7233 National Domestic Violence Hotline
American Psychological Association (APA)
Can we tell when we’re sad and when we’re depressed? Maybe, maybe not.
To be on the safe side and when we think we’re just a little bit sad, call a friend who will listen! People will need to put their sad or dysfunctional craziness into understandable and logical statements to explain what’s going on in their head. Sometimes that’s really what we need to do and by doing that, we sort ourselves out. But it may not work the first time.
When people are describing their sadness, craziness, or being dysfunctional, maybe they realize they are overreacting or looking at life from the incorrect direction. Talking can possibly help to solve the problem. However, the listener needs to JUST LISTEN! And if the listener speaks, it should be in “I” statements – “When I was sad that my cat died, I just had to give myself some time to heal and some time to cry my heart out. I’ll miss him always, but I was just sad for a few days.” Please don’t tell the person what to do.
With a diagnosis of depression, a person can be (note – “CAN BE” depressed and not show symptoms – consider Robin Williams) depressed based on that person having two weeks of five depressive symptoms every day. If someone loses the ability to handle daily activities like sleeping, eating, or working, maybe it’s not just sadness. Depression has no limits and can affect anyone regardless of education, income, culture, race or age. Other illnesses can push people into depression and include cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, and heart disease. When a person’s illness gets worse, the feeling of depression can also become worse. Or the medication for another disease may cause depression in the patient; the side effects of some medicines are actual depression and that’s difficult to take.
Children and adolescents fall into a separate category because irritability could also be involved.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes the “common symptoms of depression” as including:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of irritability, frustration‚ or restlessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide
- The information on their website continues with an urgent message:
“If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988. You also can reach the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741) or use the Lifeline Chat.”
Please do consider speaking with your health care provider or, if there is someone else who has you worried, ask that person to do so. Today’s primary health doctors know the signs and symptoms; they have the resources to help people. Even if people are only sad, professional help should not be ruled out. Expect questions on when the symptoms started and how long they usually last. People who are depressed often will not be involved in what makes them happy. But feeling out of sorts may not be depression; it could be sadness.
However, it’s worth a little time and a little effort to figure out what one feels and how serious it is. Depression can grab a person by the heart or the throat and slowly suck the air out of them. Don’t let yourself or someone you love get caught in the hamster wheel of running as fast as you can but getting nowhere.
Meanwhile, I wish you happy days and good times ahead. But if you’re sad, don’t let it beat you down. It IS preventable. Take care.
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