For most people the holiday season is a time of happiness and joy. It’s a time that we rekindle the spirit of thanksgiving and celebrate the Greatest Gift ever given. But, for some, the holiday season brings with it feelings of depression and sorrow.
Maybe you’ve lost a loved one, maybe you’ve lost your job, or perhaps you’re not as close to your family as you used to be. Depression is real. It is a real diagnosis and it is one of the most common and most serious mental health issues facing people today.
Depression can strike a woman at any age, but it appears to be at its highest peak during the childbearing years. In comparison to men, women are twice as likely to have depressive symptoms requiring medical intervention.
Depression is more than the normal everyday ups and downs. When that “down” mood lasts for more than a couple of weeks the condition may be clinical depression. Thankfully, clinical depression is one of the most treatable of all medical illnesses. In fact, more than 80% of people with depression can be treated successfully with medication. Sadly, nearly two-thirds of depressed people do not get treatment for their depression.
There are several signs and symptoms that can indicate whether a woman has depression. If you, or someone you know, have any of these symptoms, please seek professional help:
Changes in appetite or weight
Changes with sleep patterns
Loss of energy or feeling tired all the time
Difficulty with concentrating or making decisions
Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Feelings of sadness, depressed mood, and/or irritability
Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
The first step in treating depression begins with you. You must recognize the symptoms and talk with your physician. This is especially true for friends and loved-ones. Be proactive if someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms and encourage them to seek help. Treatment can include medication that work by correcting the imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain or counseling to help you to better understand your depression and develop new ways of coping with problems and/or stressful situations.
As the holiday season approaches, please remember that there are ways to fight depression. Talk to your doctor, your pastor, your friends and/or your family. Recognize the signs and symptoms and seek help.
At this time of year, be mindful of those that are struggling emotionally, spiritually, physically or financially. Take the time to lend a hand or an ear to those who need it the most. Take the time to visit those who may need the company. Take the time to offer a ride to the local grocery store. It’s the little things that can make a world of difference.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”