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What is Depression?

Someone may say that they are “so depressed” that they couldn’t get concert tickets to see a favorite band or “in a funk” because things haven’t been going their way for a while. That sucks, but it is nothing like having depression. In fact, it’s a little insulting to call ‘the blues’ depression or vice versa.

Depression, which is known as Major Depression, Major Depressive Disorder, or Clinical Depression is a serious, life-threating mental health condition. It can roll in suddenly and take over your mind and body like a black cloud.

When someone is having an episode of depression they may have trouble getting out of bed, going to school or work, and doing things they love to do. It can make life feel not worth living anymore. That’s pretty dark, but these days, most people recover from depression with therapy and medication, or both.

Is it normal?

Major depression is a common mental health condition that affects 6% of Americans each year— and half are between the age of 13 and 16.  It’s more common in women than men—though experts believe that’s because women are more likely to get treatment. Depression is a serious risk factor for suicide, so it’s very important to get treatment.

What are the signs?

When someone experiences these symptoms of depression, most of the time, for several months, it’s time to get help.

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
  • Changes in appetite and weight loss or weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Moving and thinking slowly
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

How can I get help?

Anytime you are in crisis you can call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

It’s a good idea to find a mental health professional with a background in treating depression who has the ability to prescribe medication. HelpPRO, Psychology Today and the Anxiety and Depression Association of American can help you with your search.

If you want to get connected to mental health treatment center in your area, use the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator or call 1-800-662-4357.  

Comments

54
  • Hannah bloom

    These description made me realized I do have depression because I can relate to all of these. Sad to say I’m one of those unfortunate 6% Americans. How can I get past it? I need help really badly. I am on a clean streak for not cutting for 2 weeks! Small progress but I hope to get past it one day.

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    • Thomas Payne

      That’s really good, Hannah. I’m so relieved to hear you are doing well with that!

      Even if you’ve lost that progress since you’ve posted, I hope you still believe that you will recover and heal. I believe you can, and I believe you will. I am a depressive, one of the worst that I have ever seen, and I struggle every day to survive and not give up on my life. Something tells me that I remain here on Earth to help other people, who are just as valuable or more valuable than me, with depression.

      My best, best friend once struggled with cutting. She was so scared. I hope you don’t feel that way. If you do, it’s okay… You can recover from that. And know that, whatever you have to do to stay alive and stay in control, we love you for trying. This disease did not come because of your faults. It is random and genetic, or based on environment.

      You didn’t choose this, but you and I still have to choose to fight every day. It’s horrible, and it’s not fair. There is still hope, though. I believe it.

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  • Michael Angelo Marquilencia

    I suffer depression. I usually feel empty, sad, that i am of no use to anyone & lonely (even though im surrounded by people that know me). I have tried to commit suicide before and, as you can figure out, I didn’t die.

    Depression is considered as simple “EMO” fad. No one has informed my whole country on how heavy depression really is. Our suicide hotline is not on or just non-exsistent.

    I really need help. I’m having a hard time coping up with everything that is happening in my life right now.

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    • Ashley Womble

      The Lifeline is there for you. Please call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone who can help you get through this difficult time. You Matter.

      Posted on

  • Katie

    Katie Katie

    Reply Author

    I went to a councilor about my symptoms of depression a few months ago. We talked about everything that had ever happened in my life, and what horrible things I’ve been through. I explained to her how I was feeling empty, tired, and scared to talk to people almost all the time. From there she told me she wanted me to see a psychiatrist who would meet with me once a month to prescribe me medication. I found that the medication didn’t work at all, and neither was the counseling, so I stopped. Since then I’ve come to find that more symptoms from this description have shown up or gotten worse, especially the last one in recent days. I don’t even really know why I’m commenting on this. I guess reading the symptoms made it feel more real.

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  • Jess

    Jess Jess

    Reply Author

    I want to be diagnosed with depression before I say I actually have it, but I think I do. I also have suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. I want to get help, but my parents won’t let me. What do I do?

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  • Cherry

    Cherry Cherry

    Reply Author

    I have had Depression since the 3rd grade and I am currently in my freshman year of High School , it sucks so bad because you don’t feel like anyone is every there for you ,getting out of be, staying awake in school, trying to stop constant panic attacks, self harming and people making fun of my cuts and saying I do it on purpose, the world is cruel im ready to leave it. I previously (last winter) had suicide attempts and was taken to the hospital. I am hoping to tell my parents in February about my depression and suicide coming back they said i just gained there trust a month ago. Im just too scared right now,im trapped in a hole. someone help me please.

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    • Ashley Womble

      It sounds like you are going through a lot. It may be helpful to talk to someone at the Lifeline. They can even help you figure out what to say to your parents. Call 1-800-273-TALK.

      Posted on

  • Kaitlynn

    I know I’m depressed and sometimes I consider killing myself but the reason I don’t call is because I don’t want my family to find out

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    • You Matter

      Hi Kaitlynn, The Lifeline does offer chat based services accessible on our main website http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org These services are available from 2pm to 2am every day of the week. If you have trouble connecting with a chat counselor (the queues can be long) don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!

      Posted on

    • samantha smith

      Ik and than it will be like everyone is watching u and some people say it’s for attention. idk what to do anymore, without my best friend I would probably be dead

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  • You Matter

    DJ, It sounds like you’re going through a lot right now! Please remember, the Lifeline is here for you any time day or night, every day of the year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Don’t hesitate to call us, your life matters!

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  • kamrin

    kamrin kamrin

    Reply Author

    i cut… i do pills i drink i smoke i do alot to try and forget i need help

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    • You Matter

      Kamrin, No matter what you are going through hurting yourself is never the answer. The Lifeline is here for anyone struggling with difficult emotions. You do not need to be thinking about suicide to call us. The call is free and confidential, so don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!

      Posted on

  • kamrin

    kamrin kamrin

    Reply Author

    i feel empty useless i feel as if im a waste of space , i feel as if my parents dont give a crap, i lost someone really close

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    • You Matter

      I am so sorry that you’re feeling this way. If you are struggling with some tough emotions or feeling lonely, don’t hesitate to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

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  • Deandra

    Deandra Deandra

    Reply Author

    I tried to call 1-800-273-8255 and get help but the lady who answered was no help. She only made me feel worse. She made me feel like no one is really here to listen to me.
    I’m not sure what to tell you guys, but honestly I would never call this line again for help. I’m struggling right now with depression which is causing my suicidal thoughts and can’t believe I didn’t find any help from this line.

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    • You Matter

      Deandra, We are sorry to hear you has trouble with Lifeline and we would still like to help you.. Please report your experience to suicidepreventionlifeline.org/About/Contact.aspx and we will look into it. We want to help you through this difficult time. Please call any time at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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  • Brier

    Brier Brier

    Reply Author

    I feel more angry and frustrated than sad and empty. I feel stuck and unable to move forward. I have so many things i wanna do and i cant. I hate how my friends are so happy go lucky with their carefree lives and i spend my entire paycheck on bills rent and necessities. I can’t party or shop every weekend. Half the time i wonder where dinner is coming from because im so angry from being at work for 10 hours i spend my food money smoking weed. Which is a vicious cycle since im starving afterwards. I watched my entire life fall apart and have been trying to pickup the pieces since i was 12 but i just cant do this anymore. When can my life start? How much longer do i have to wait for something good to finally happen to me?! Ive wanted to die manh times including right now. But i hate pain and death just seems to painful to inflict on myself. No do overs either. Why am i doing all this if in the end im dead anyway. What is the point in feeling all this just to die in the end and hopefully but no guarentee to feel nothing. I clled the hotline and I know the girl tried to help me but i ultimately felt dismissed. Ive managed to find a decent therapist but i cant call her at 2 in the morning.

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    • You Matter

      Brier, It seems that you are struggling with some tough emotions right now. Please do not give up! Do not hesitate to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) again! We are here to listen!

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  • Bri

    Bri Bri

    Reply Author

    Can someone help? I’m too scared to call the lifeline because I’m not suicidal, I just want someone to talk to right now. And the depression lifeline wasn’t working but I’ve never called it before. I’ve never called the suicide prevention lifeline either because I’m worried they are going to assume I’m suicidal without me explaining and call the hospital to come get me or something. All I want is to talk to someone about how I’m feeling.

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    • You Matter

      @Bri Thank you for reaching out to us here at The Lifeline, our crisis counselors are here for you any time day or night, every day of the year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Don’t hesitate to call us! If you are more comfortable chatting online please use the private link below to chat immediately with a Lifeline counselor. If for any reason you aren’t able to get through don’t hesitate to call us. We want to help you. Your life matters! http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/FBchatterms.aspx or go to http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ and hit the chat option.

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  • nazah

    nazah nazah

    Reply Author

    i feel like no one ever really listen and when they do its not because they really care they just realize i am alone and want to feel like a good person i feel as if I am in a hole that does not have a bottom to stop falling i have talk so many therapist and tried to evaluate why i continue to be depressed and it leaves me feeling sadder than what i was before i feel hopeless and if i do feel hopeful something goes wrong and reminds me how i am such an failure

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    • You Matter

      Your life does matter – call us at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and let our crisis counselors help you find hope. Hurting yourself is never the answer! It can be scary to seek help, you don’t have to do this alone.

      Posted on

  • Annabel

    Annabel Annabel

    Reply Author

    I have a good friend…. I’m not certain if they have depression, but they are sad almost all the time, constantly feeling guilty, saying that they’re a “worthless nothing”… While they have not skipped school or stopped any other activities, they hardly often complete their homework or classwork, they sleep very late and wake very early, and when injured they say that they “deserve the pain”. He loves a girl, and she loves him back, but anyone (read: ANYONE, no matter what gender or age) the girl spends time with or even mentions, he gets insanely jealous of… Occasionally I can comfort him, and another friend is even better at it, but happiness is very short-lived for them… Today was the first time they talked about suicide… I’m not certain if they’re serious, but I’m very worried for my friend… How can I help him!?

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    • You Matter

      It sounds like your friend is going through a tough time, we understand that you want to support them and the best way is to urge them to seek help. The Lifeline is free, confidential, and 24/7/365. Our Crisis Counselors are trained to help. Please consider referring them to us.

      Posted on

  • Muawiya

    Muawiya Muawiya

    Reply Author

    I want to commit suicide, I don’t find a reason in living anymore! Im contacting you guys to help me, im not a US citizen though.

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  • Amber taylor

    I want to die, and I have no one to call because I have no phone,

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    • You Matter

      The Lifeline does offer chat based services accessible on our main website http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org These services are available from 2pm to 2am every day of the week. If you have trouble connecting with a chat counselor (the queues can be long) don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!

      Posted on

      • coryn

        coryn coryn

        Reply Author

        I feel like no one needs me, people tell me that they do, but i mean, im sure if I just disappear they would forget about me, eventually. I feel like im just a waste of peoples time. No one stays with me for a long time, but my best friend and I think she’s even about to leave me. and i don’t know what I would do without her. It would kill me.
        Everything I do, doesn’t matter, or I usually mess up everything. Even my dad tells me that I’m an idiot, and useless. he’s tried to help with my depression and he just says “stop being depressed” and I guess he just doesn’t care /:
        what bothers me most is that most of my friends have stopped talking to me, and hanging out with me, I don’t know what I did wrong. They just don’t talk to me anymore, I thought we we’re good friends.

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        • You Matter

          No matter what problems you are struggling with, hurting yourself isn’t the answer. Your life matters! In order to talk to a Crisis Counselor, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The call is free and confidential; we’re here for you 24/7/365.

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  • Simon truong

    I am depressed. I have always been since 5th grade. My life is filled with a fake mask that I wear that is not the true me. The true me that is angry, guilty, sad, everything that makes me dark and filled with despair. I am currently 16 years old, but I feel like I’m 90 years old due to me being so tired, useless, and depressed. I have given up on everything. I don’t understand anymore, I am depressed and sad but yet nobody can relate! I work soo hard in school but although I receive great grades, I feel unmotivated. I have always wanted to die. I have the desire to commit suicide but I can’t. I love nothing. My parents don’t understand, I don’t know how to talk about it. I love school, but I cant wake up. I have been having insomnia. I am scared, I am shameful. I feel worthless. I feel used. My parents don’t understand my pain. They have sadly and depressingly burned my bridges….. Help me….. I have lost my faith in life. I work hard to impress my parents but I am rewarded with lies and hatred. Why must my life be filled with torment? Death is an option, and option that will let me rest in peace for eternity. I long for endless rest, endless peace within. But it is far fetched, especially for a weakling like me. I am lucky to have never used drugs, alcohol, and other means to let out my darkness. But currently, I have had a slight slight slight thought of a new outlet.

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Life may seem meaningless now, but we want to help you find hope. The Lifeline’s crisis counselors are here for you any time day or night at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!, Please give us a call

      Posted on

  • sammi

    sammi sammi

    Reply Author

    i am a young teen I do have depression i am not very suicidal. but even if someone is telling me i matter i dont feel any less worthless like, how can this person who barely knows anything about me care. i find it not very helpful even if a person at school comes up to me and says they care about me. Most of the time when this happens we have never even had a conversation they dont care about me as a person they just think its sad people die.

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      If you are struggling with some tough emotions or feeling depressed, don’t hesitate to call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We are here to listen!

      Posted on

  • No Nmae

    No Nmae No Nmae

    Reply Author

    I went to a counselor for my depression and my anxiety and i just feel like worse…….I recently had a thought of committing suicide because of all the medicals my parents have to pay and I could barely pull myself out of that funk……..I need help…….

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Thank you for reaching out to us. Feel free to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) so that you can find out what resources are available in your area. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code. The local crisis center may have resources such as counseling. No matter what you are going through hurting yourself is never the answer.

      Posted on

  • Katie

    Katie Katie

    Reply Author

    I am a tween and I’m struggling with depression. Even in the best moments with my friends or when I’m with my family, I never seem to find joy. My depression all started with my brother being the older and more loved sibling. I’m not so suicidal now but in 2014 I did try suicide once. I have only told my closest friends about my depression and the one attempt on my life. I have been to my school counselor more than once and she just tells me to stay calm and be happy. The one issue is, that my school counselor is young and she gives no real help. I have been talking with my friends for quite a while but they only tell me to put a smile on and look happy. The part that I think that helps with my friends is that, on of them are also struggling with depression. My friend goes to a real counselor and she gave the advice that whenever I think of suicide or any thing that could harm me, to draw a picture and give it to her. She takes all the pictures I draw to her counselor and she tells him that the pictures are mine. He will give her information then she will tell me what he says. The one issue with me having depression is that I can’t tell my parents or they will think that I’m messed up or that I’m lying.

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Katie, please call us at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We are here all day, every day and night, to help you with your troubles. Call us now at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

      Posted on

  • Joselyn

    Joselyn Joselyn

    Reply Author

    Can I get help without my patents knowing?

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      You can contact us any time at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters

      Posted on

  • Joselyn

    Joselyn Joselyn

    Reply Author

    Can I get help with out my patents knowing??

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Hello Joselyn, it sounds like you are having a really difficult time coping. If you need a little extra emotional support, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK. The call is free and confidential, and crisis workers are there 24/7 to assist you. The Lifeline is there for everyone.

      Posted on

  • Valeria

    Valeria Valeria

    Reply Author

    Hi there. It’s quite hard for me to say this in the right words, but I think I have depression. Last year, I felt alienated, depressed, and hated. Most importantly, I hated myself and numbed my pain through TV and KPop. I lost myself. I went against myself. My inner voice seems gone now. I’ve realized this and don’t know much of what to do. My thinking makes no sense, I feel like a zombie, I contemplate suicide and I hate waking up. I’ve lost all interests. I think my family would think that I would be saying this as some sort of bs excuse but I really feel it. When was the last time I was happy?? Idek. What did it feel like?? Pls help me.

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Valeria: Life may seem meaningless now, but we want to help you find hope. The Lifeline’s crisis counselors are here for you any time day or night at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your life matters!
      It’s great that you are reaching out and talking about your feelings and we would love to help!

      Posted on

  • Austen Koepke

    I’ve been dealing with depression for almost 7 years and its developed into a unmanageable all encompassing mass of sadness and despair. It seems any attempt to help from either myself or others just fails immediately. I have great friends, a loving family, and everything I could ask for. I’m depressed because of how the world is and the fact that I will never be able to change it. How others act towards one and another and how society tells us what is right and what is wrong, I view my depression as seeing how the world really is and that everyone happy is just lying to them selves and blind to how unimportant there life really is. I don’t know if I can ever be happy ever again.

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Hi Austen Koepke, thank you for reaching out to us and it sounds like you’re going through depression for a while and having difficulties right now. I appreciate you being so open and honest with us. We are here 24/7 if you need someone to talk to and listen at the LIFELINE 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

      Posted on

  • Lee

    Lee Lee

    Reply Author

    I hate this world

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Sounds you are going through a tough time Lee. Our crisis counselors are here for you any time day or night, every day of the year at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

      Posted on

  • sister haleema counselor

    How can I work for You Matter. Im a counselor for a not for profit organisation and this is a field I am interested in

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Hi Sister Haleema, thank you for your interest in working with us. Our mission is to spread awareness in the community and show support to all those suffering and your help is important. Please use this link to find a crisis center close to you- http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/getinvolved/locator.aspx and contact them about any available openings. Your life matters!

      Posted on

  • miracle

    miracle miracle

    Reply Author

    Hi my names Miracle ,
    I’m 13 and I’ve had Depression and many Suicidal thoughts for around 2 years now, I’ve tried to cope with it all in my head, but it’s really hard to keep all my anger inside and not lash it out on my parents or my little brother. I’ve tried to get medical help by asking my father if I can see a therapist, sadly he believed that I didn’t need help because I was HIS daughter, which must have meant something to him but I was lost by that comment. Apparently being HIS daughter meant that I was “immune” to suicidal thoughts. Next to being BI and having parents that don’t want to help depression has being aggravating, on top of all of that I have to act like everyday I’m “okay”. I honestly don’t know what to do. The national Suicide prevention line has always been uncomfortable for me, i’d rather txt all my problems to someone i can trust. Is their anyone i can text all my problems to?

    Posted on

    • You Matter

      Hello Miracle, Thank you for reaching out to us and expressing your concern.It seems like you’re going through a difficult time. Please text your zip code to 898211 and someone will be able to help you. They are available 24-7.

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