Depression and You


Most people have felt sad or “depressed” in certain times in their lives. Feelings like these can be a normal reaction to loss, grief, or a multitude of any other of life’s hard times. But what is the difference between a normal reaction to life’s struggles and diagnosable depression?

Depression is defined as, “a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.” Whew, that’s a mouthful. What does that mean exactly? Basically, when a person is depressed, certain things can happen both in your mind and in your body. This usually lasts longer than two weeks. Physically, a person with depression could be experiencing headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, chest pain, dizziness, and digestive problems (feeling queasy), lack of appetite, or overeating. Mental symptoms can include: feeling down, lack of desire to do things you usually enjoy, feeling worthless, not being able to sleep normally, and suicidal thoughts.

Experts say depression is caused by a combination of factors, such as a person’s genetics, chemicals in a person’s brain, personal experience and how we deal with those experiences.

There are quite a few triggers that lead to the surfacing of depression. Risk factors for depression include:

• A previous depressive episode
• family history of depression
• history of heart problems
• serious chronic illness
• marital problems
• substance abuse
• use of drugs that could trigger depression such as medicines for high blood pressure or seizures
• a stressful life event such as job loss or death
• diseases that could trigger depression such as vitamin deficiency and thyroid disease
• recent serious illness or surgery
• childhood history of abuse
• being a worrier or being overly anxious
• having an eating disorder or an anxiety disorder

Depression can present itself in different forms, and it is treatable. Just like any other chronic condition, diabetes, or high blood pressure for example, depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment. With roughly one in twenty people who suffer with the condition, people who know how to help are out there. Some helpful ways in treating depression would be: talking to a therapist, going to your primary care doctor and discussing with him/her your current symptoms, using your family and friends for support, finding a reason to get out of bed, journaling, and other positive things. The important thing to remember is that depression is common and can be treated and that most people will experience some form of this throughout their lives. Many people have won the battle. It is also important to be a support for a loved one who is experiencing these symptoms.

So, how can your local Health Navigators help? If it is an emergency, do not hesitate to dial 911. Southeast Health Group also has a mental health emergency help line: 800-511-5446. Perhaps though, you need help finding primary care in your community, or would like to know more about services Southeast Health Group provides. If you have any questions at all about physical or mental health, we will work hard at finding the answers you are looking for. We are more than willing to help, and it’s okay to ask! Call 719-336-0478 extension 8 for the Health Navigation line.

Written by:
Dänya Herrell, SHG Health Navigator
Southeast Mental Health Services
at Southeast Health Group


Dänya Herrell, SHG Health Navigator

Dänya Herrell, SHG Health Navigator


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