College Students and Coping with Depression

College isn't all about having fun. (Photo courtesy of flickr user Jirka Matousek)

College isn’t all about having fun. (Photo courtesy of flickr user Jirka Matousek)

College students tend to be under a lot of pressure.  They are living on their own in a new environment, attending difficult classes, learning to deal with new people and trying to balance all of these things out.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed and begin feeling everything spin out of control.

It’s also easier for students to develop depression.  After all, suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students.  Continue reading

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Depression in the Workplace

Photo courtesy of flickr user Kenny Louie

It’s easy to feel alone in the workplace when dealing with depression. (Photo courtesy of flickr user Kenny Louie)

There’s no doubt depression interferes with people’s lives.  It affects the person who has depression, but it also affects the people around that one person.  It affects their family, friends and co-workers.  Friends and family generally tend to understand; as for fellow workers?  It varies.

A recent study shows women in authoritative positions in the workplace are far more likely to develop depression than men in those roles.  This is mostly due to the stresses of working under pressure to continue breaking the glass ceiling.  Women in less powerful roles are still more likely to develop depression, but the difference is not nearly has high as those working as higher-ups. Continue reading

Seasonal Depression

Photo courtesy of flick user Bill Llott

A dark day like this contributes to SAD. (Photo courtesy of flick user Bill Llott)

While snow descends from the heavens, darkness devours the sky, robbing a good portion of daytime’s light.  The barren trees look as through their branches could snap with the weight of the snow.  The holiday season is fast approaching, but for people dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter darkens their moods and mind and burdens them.

SAD is a form of depression that pops up around daylight savings time.  SAD is associated with light–or rather, the lack of sunlight during winter.  It can feel very intense; sometimes, it makes it difficult to function on a normal, day-to-day basis.  SAD can make getting out of bed feels like a chore.  It throws your routine for a loop. Continue reading

Getting Help

Photo courtesy of flicker user Esparta Palma

Attitudes like this add to the stigma of getting help (Photo courtesy of flicker user Esparta Palma)

When someone mentions the word “counseling,” (or synonyms like “therapy”) it’s usually meant in jest. Someone might tease a friend who eats two candy bars every day by saying, “You should see a shrink about that addiction to chocolate.”

The comment will probably evoke a laugh or a positive response.  After all, such jokes are meant as light-hearted teasing.  They’re sometimes meant a coping mechanism for an uncomfortable topic or awkward situation.  Considering society’s discomfort with mental illness, those reactions aren’t exactly unexpected. Continue reading

Describing Depression

In his slam poetry performance “Couples Therapy,” Patrick Roche compares depression to a partner in an abusive relationship.  The images of depression keeping him in bed, decreasing his appetite and encouraging him to do things he is not comforting with are disturbingly realistic.

It’s common for people with depression describe their experiences through metaphors.  There’s no other way to describe a mental illness.  It doesn’t evoke the same response as a high fever or broken arm does.  It’s not something people can see, let alone understand, at first glance.

Continue reading

Depression & Gender Roles

Depression does not care whose mind it inhabits.  Anyone can fall prey to it:  men or women, young or old, rich or poor.

Family histories, drug abuse and other factors play a role in determining those at higher risk.  Regardless, it can affect anyone.  Even though people are generally aware of that, they don’t always realize how their actions can change a person’s willingness to seek help.  Sometimes what they act on is something that has been ingrained in society.  Gender roles are one such example.  They both help and hinder people from getting help.

Continue reading

Shifting Symptoms of Depression

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San Diego State University released a study on the number of Americans diagnosed with depression. The study shows that numbers have dramatically increased since the 1980s.  Like the changing number, depression is evolving.  Its symptoms have started to become more physical.

Imagine an advertisement for a new antidepressant:  Are you having trouble sleeping or staying focused?  Has your appetite decreased?  Have you lost interest in your hobbys?  Do you live in the United States?  You’re not alone.  You might be one of the 6.9 million (and counting) Americans suffering from depression.

Here’s my question:  What about those who have depression who are not dealing with physical pain or changes?  Do they have depression, too?

Continue reading

Media Coverage of Mental Health and Medicine

Photo courtesy of flickr user david__jones

Photo courtesy of flickr user david__jones

Science and technology are meant to improve people’s lives.  Most medical advances are advertised or announced quickly.  When a research group discovers a way to prevent cancer, media sets it abuzz.  But when a preventative measure for diagnosing a mental illness is discovered, the media remains silent.
Northwestern University may have found a way to diagnose depression through blood tests.  It is hard to say if it will be effective, but only time will tell.  My biggest concern is that the only place I found this news was through Googling depression and clicking the news.  The Chicago Tribune was the one of the only newspaper sources that had information available.  That is a huge problem.

Continue reading

The Glorification of Depression on Social Media

Screenshot by me

My Google search results reveal the controversial trend of self-diagnosis.

In some ways, the Internet has become a great way to discuss mental health issues. It’s easier to reach out to someone who is struggling with the same issues that someone else is.

However, some sites, such as the social media blog website, Tumblr, have led some of its users to self-diagnosing and glorifying depression. Continue reading

What Robin Williams Teaches Us About Depression

Robin Williams rarely played a character who frowned or was easily discouraged. He had an astounding gift: he made people laugh. He always seemed cheerful.  Growing up, I watched so many of his films:  Aladdin, Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire… The list goes on and on. He had a huge impact on my childhood. I was shocked when I heard that this man who made me laugh and sing along to “A Friend Like Me” killed himself. I was also saddened. Williams suffered from depression.

“Depression” is a misleading label for this mental illness. Continue reading