What are the Risk Factors for Childhood Depression?

I had untreated clinical depression starting from a young age. When I was finally diagnosed at age 27, I started trying to figure out why this had happened to me.

Why would a child suffer from depression? What are the factors that can combine to create depression in a young child? In many cases, one of the usual suspects is a family history of mental illness. But there was no such history on either side of my family. So I started looking for other explanations. Continue reading

Five Excuses that Might Prevent You from Getting Help for Depression

The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Day Dream by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

So you know you have depression, or you’re pretty sure you do, but you’re putting off doing anything about it. Procrastinating is a fairly common state of affairs for people with depression. I once put off renewing the registration for my car (before I was diagnosed with depression) and of course it expired, as they do. I ended up getting a huge ticket, about one week’s pay, because I was unlucky enough to be in front of a state cop in stop-and-go traffic. It seems really stupid now that I didn’t get it done, but I do remember the complete lack of motivation that came with my depression.

Lack of motivation is one of the ways in which depression can screw up your life, especially when it is keeping you from getting professional help for your depression. You may think you have good reasons for not getting help, but are they reasons or excuses? I don’t know if these could be considered the top five excuses, but they’re definitely the ones that I’ve heard most frequently. Continue reading

How Lincoln Survived His Depression

“No element of Lincoln’s character,” declared his colleague Henry Whitney, “was so marked, obvious and ingrained as his mysterious and profound melancholy.”

I’m not sure how many people know that Lincoln suffered from lifelong depression (it was essentially dismissed by an influential biographer in the 1940s), but those of us with depression could see it written clearly on his face.

As you can imagine, in the 1800s Lincoln’s options for treating his melancholy were very limited, and nearly as painful as the illness itself. Operating under the theory that melancholy was caused by an excess of black bile present in the body, the treatment regimen involved, among other tortures, bleeding, blistering, inducing vomiting and diarrhea, fasting, and mustard rubs and sweating followed by a cold bath. I’m guessing that the only reason this method saw any success was due to patients saying, “Yes, yes, I feel much better!” simply to get it to end. Continue reading

Study Reveals How Concussions Can Trigger Depression | TIME.com

Two new research projects – one published this month and another that is still preliminary – suggest why some professional football players, particularly those that get concussions, may be more vulnerable to developing depression.

For both studies, researchers focused on a group of 34 retired NFL players, aged 41 to 79 and living in north Texas.

via Study Reveals How Concussions Can Trigger Depression | TIME.com.

Activist Aaron Swartz’s suicide sparks talk about depression

The suicide last week of Aaron Swartz, a prominent Internet developer and activist, is sparking a discussion in Startupland about an issue that’s rarely publicized: the prevalence of depression in the tech community.

Swartz struggled for years with the mental health disorder, and wrote about it occasionally in his blog. “I feel ashamed to have an illness,” he wrote in a 2007 post. “It sounds absurd, but there still is an enormous stigma around being sick.”

Silicon Valley doesn’t generally nurture the sick. Especially for entrepreneurs and those helping to build their startups, the tech industry is a high-risk, high-reward environment, with 20-hour days and millions of dollars at stake.

Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Web humor empire, wrote publicly about his struggles after his first startup failed.

“I was thoroughly broke, depressed, and feeling the burden of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of other people’s money,” he wrote in his blog. “I spent a week in my room with the lights off and cut off from the world, thinking of the best way to exit this failure. Death was a good option — and it got better by the day.”

via Activist Aaron Swartz’s suicide sparks talk about depression – Jan. 14, 2013.