Keep the Holiday Support Going

Image: The Baths at Caracalla by Sir Lawrence Alma_Tadema
The Baths at Caracalla by Sir Lawrence Alma_Tadema

You may be breathing a sigh of relief now that the holidays are over. There’s no question that there are many aspects of the holiday season that are tough on someone with depression. Things that tax your energy like shopping and cooking, parties and gatherings that require you to attempt a smile and engage in chit-chat, and of course, spending time with friends and family when you’d rather curl up in bed by yourself. All in all, an experience to be endured, and the worst part is that you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!

And since you’ve heard that the holidays see the highest rate of suicide all year, you may also be confident that you’ve passed the danger zone. Well, not exactly. The thing is, we’re heading into the danger zone for suicides, not away from it. Contrary to popular belief, the holidays are not the time of the year when we see the most suicides. The beginning of the year, after all the festivities and for many people, in the dead of a dark, endless winter, can be the time when they lose hope.

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ADHD and Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management

To most people, depression means feeling blue or down in the dumps. This is an almost universal experience for people with ADHD. At some point in their lives, they feel down due to the frustration and demoralization of trying to fit into a neurotypical world that makes little effort to understand or accept them. Often this is called secondary, or reactive, depression.

It must be emphasized, however, that “reactive depression” is a normal experience and not something that has gone wrong. It is an accurate perception of how hard and frustrating it is to have ADHD, especially if it is not being treated.

via ADHD and Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management.

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Cells Show Signs of Faster Aging After Depression

(HealthDay News) — The cells of people who have had depression may age more quickly, a new study suggests.

Dutch researchers compared cell structures called telomeres in more than 2,400 people with and without depression.

Like the plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces, telomeres cap the ends of chromosomes to protect the cell’s DNA from damage. Telomeres get a bit shorter each time a cell divides, so they are useful markers for aging.

via Cells Show Signs of Faster Aging After Depression.

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How to Help Someone Who is Depressed

“It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” – Stephen Fry

When someone you know is depressed, it’s understandable if you feel helpless. If you’ve never suffered from clinical depression, how are you going to know what to say and do, or how it feels?

Ways to Help Someone with Depression

  • Listen. Keep in mind that the person with depression isn’t communicating well right now, and is probably speaking slower and less clearly. Be patient and don’t interrupt. Don’t be judgmental.
  • Take care of little tasks like feeding the cat or doing the laundry. (This suggestion applies if you don’t live with the person. If you do live with the person, you probably have to take on all the tasks).
  • Remember that the depressed person is not being lazy. Think of when you’re really sick and you can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. That’s how someone with depression can feel all the time.
  • Learn everything you can about depression. Knowledge is power and understanding.
  • Take it seriously if the person talks about suicide, especially if they’re talking about specifics. Call their doctor for advice on what to do, or take them to the emergency room if the threat is imminent. Questions you want to ask that will help the doctor determine the severity of the suicidal thoughts and feelings are:
    • Are you thinking about dying?
    • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?
    • Are you thinking about suicide?
    • Have you thought about how you would do it?
    • Do you know when you would do it?
    • Do you have the means to do it?
  • Encourage the individual to get professional help for depression if he or she is resisting.
  • If the individual has already started treatment, make sure the depressive is keeping doctor appointments and taking his or her medication.
  • Learn about 3 common  behaviors in people who are depressed.

Ways to Help Yourself

  • Take care of yourself. Depression can be “contagious.” Get out and do something for yourself alone.
  • Recognize that your feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness are valid. Talk to a therapist for help in dealing with them.
  • If you are in a sexual relationship with this person, don’t take it personally if they have lost interest in sex. Sexual drive is one of the first things to go when you’re depressed. Offer hugging and cuddling without an expectation of sex. Here are 10 tips for staying sane when your partner is depressed.
  • Know when to let go. After a certain point, especially if the depressed person is not getting help or taking their medicine, there’s nothing you can do. You have to move on with your own life.

Links

  • 10 Ways to Help Someone Who's Depressed
  • 5 Things to Do (And Not Do) to Support Someone With Depression
  • A Teenager's Guide to Depression: Tips and Tools for Helping Yourself or a Friend
  • Best Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
  • Depression Fallout
  • Families for Depression Awareness
  • Helping a Depressed Friend or Family Member
  • Helping a Depressed Person
  • How Family and Friends Can Help
  • How to Help Someone who is Depressed
  • If You Know Someone Who's Depressed
  • Loving Someone with Depression - Literally, Darling
  • What to Do When Someone You Love is Depressed
  • What to Do When Your Partner is Depressed
  • Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
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    Is there a link between migraines and depression? | The Courier-Journal

    People who suffer from migraines are twice as likely to be depressed as others without the debilitating headaches, according to a new study.And those who experience migraines, particularly people younger than 30, are also more likely to consider suicide, the Canadian researchers said.Routine screenings and interventions are needed for those migraine sufferers at greatest risk for both depression and suicidal thoughts, the study authors contend.

    via Is there a link between migraines and depression? | The Courier-Journal | courier-journal.com.

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    Grouchy, angry, irritable and depressed: these are the hard cases, says study – latimes.com

    After languishing for years in the shadows of psychiatry’s definition of adult depression, irritability is finally getting some respect again. It’s about damned time, you might say.

    A new study has found that people suffering a major depressive episode who report they have become grouchy, hostile, grumpy, argumentative, foul-tempered or angry will likely have a "more complex, chronic and severe form" of major depressive disorder than those who do not acknowledge irritable feelings and behavior.

    via Grouchy, angry, irritable and depressed: these are the hard cases, says study – latimes.com.

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    Welcome to Wing of Madness Depression Guide

    Welcome to one of the oldest depression sites on the Web. Since 1995, Wing of Madness has been providing information and support to people dealing with their own depression or that of someone they know.

    This web page is about clinical depression, also referred to as major depression or major depressive disorder. Here we address not the “down” mood which we all get from time to time and which leads us to say, “I’m depressed,” but the often debilitating illness which affects one in five people, children as well as adults.

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    Reflections on Depression

    How it feels

    The Bridesmaid by Sir John Everett Millais

    Note: Quotes in italics are mine.

    I tell people it’s like being dead. It feels like being a ghost, maybe. You float through your days feeling insubstantial, cut off from warmth, light and all feeling. Sometimes it feels like you’re in a coffin buried alive. You’re screaming inside your head, but no one can hear you.

    “It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

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    Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On : NPR

    Depression can have physical consequences. Research now suggests that when people get depressed in middle age and beyond, they’re more likely to develop dementia in old age.

    But the link between remains something of a mystery. Researchers are working to understand why that occurs and what might be done to prevent dementia.

    Brain researcher with the University of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine has spent years trying to answer this question. She asks, "What is it about a mood disorder that is relatively treatable, that people can recover from; what is it in the brain that may increase one’s risk for dementia many years later?"

    Dementia can be caused by different diseases, including and , which follows a stroke or series of mini strokes. In a , Butters found that the risk for both of those types of dementia nearly doubled among people who had suffered depression after the age of 50.

    via Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On : Shots – Health News : NPR.

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    What does depression feel like?

    Image: Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward
    Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward

    “It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

    Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.

    I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (getting out of bed was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.

      • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
      • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
      • You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
      • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
      • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
      • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
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