This week’s tragic loses of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain brings to light to the harsh reality of depression. Regardless of financial status, race, religion, occupation, or support system, anyone can be affected by depression and suicidal thoughts.
Most of the world was very shocked to hear the passing of these two influential successful figures by suicide. People are attempting to rationalize how someone could take their life when from the outside it may appear they had everything, “going for them”. Part of breaking the stigma behind mental health is understanding that depression is drastically different from circumstantial sadness.
Depression is all consuming, affecting every, if not most, areas of life regardless of circumstances.
Diminished interest in activities
Significant weight gain or loss not due to dieting or change in eating patterns Recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal ideations
People diagnosed with depression feel these symptoms all, or almost all of the time. Sure, we all feel sad from time to time, maybe you didn’t get the promotion you were counting on, you are struggling with a relationship, or going through another major life stressor. The difference between these situations and depression is sadness is fleeting and generally doesn’t affect the ability to communicate with loved ones, continue job duties, and perform daily tasks.
Depression is an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom that affects functioning in multiple areas of life. People with depression may struggle with simple tasks such as brushing their hair or putting on their clothes in the morning. Getting out of bed can even be an exhausting task, and this feeling is drastically different than the Monday blues many of us feel occasionally. Depression takes a hold of the entire being, tricking the mind into automatic negative thinking patterns that scream, “I might as well give up, I’ll never make it through this” or “I’m such a burden the ones I love would be better without me anyways”.
These thoughts can become overwhelming and lead to attempts to stop symptoms such as suicide. Depression is not something that individuals can simply “get over”. Without professional intervention, depression and it’s symptoms will continue and intensify over time.
If you have struggled with depressed thoughts or symptoms the best thing to do is contact a professional mental health counselor for an assessment to see if you can benefit from therapeutic services.
As we were reminded this week, mental health IS health. Without mental well being the material things that surround you have no value. Although it may be the hardest thing to do, reach out and take the important step to get help!!
If you or someone you love are in immediate crisis contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255
Michelle Smith MS, RMHCI