October is Depression Education and Awareness Month and here at Bene we’re all about approaching mental health in a real, transparent way that raises awareness and lowers the stigma around mental illness. Studies indicate that rates of depression were already increasing pre-pandemic and that Covid has exacerbated mental health issues in the U.S. and it’s worth noting that roughly 280 million people across the globe suffer from depression. That means it’s highly likely that either you or someone you know may be struggling with this common illness and we’re here to share some helpful resources and reminders. If you haven’t addressed your depression or the depressive tendencies of a loved one, now’s the time to start the conversation.
Depression Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
There are actually several different types of depression, including major depression, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, perinatal/postpartum depress, and seasonal affective disorder, and each has its own unique set of symptoms. It can be difficult to differentiate between a depressive episode or the feelings that come along with a “terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad” week but there are some common symptoms that are prevalent across depression types that you can look out for:
· A constant feeling of hopelessness
· A loss of interest in activities that used to bring you joy
· Fatigue and difficulty concentrating
· Feelings of worthlessness
· Anxiety and misplaced guilt
It’s important to mention that not everyone suffering from depression looks sad or forlorn. In fact, because of the stigma surrounding mental health, many people with depression hide their feelings, and this masking of depressive symptoms can be particularly prevalent among those who have the ability to perform at school, work, and in their personal lives, despite their mental state. In other words, when you’re still functioning at a high level, it can be easy to convince yourself that your depression isn’t that bad and that you don’t need help.
So, What Can You Do?
If you’re feeling depressed,
· Ask for help – contact your primary care doctor or a mental health professional
· Practice self-care – this looks different for everyone; take care of yourself so you feel rested and steady
· Focus on the things you can control
If you know a loved one who is experiencing depressive episodes,
· Let them know you’re always there to listen
· Tell them how much they mean to you
· Encourage them to seek help
Visit our Bene by Nina RESOURCES page for a list of mental health organizations.