With a knock of knuckles brushing against the front door of your house, depression requested access to enter. Upon opening the entrance to your home, it revealed itself as an unwanted visitor.
After wandering in, depression boldly pulled up a chair and took a seat at the head of the table. As uninvited guests do, they show up at the wrong time, stay too long, and transport their challenges with them.
Depression came without warning
Instead of bringing a side dish, depression transported despondency and desperation as the main courses. Reaching into its darkness, it served the invitees the energy of immense sadness. As depression rolled out its spread onto the table, it spilled everywhere and onto everyone.
Hence, we discovered that COVID had brought depression into our lives without our approval. Most of us had never met it before. Accordingly, its potent presence knocked us over with its strength.
What is clinical/major depression?
Globally, 264 million people are estimated to have a clinical/major depression diagnosis. However, as COVID eclipsed day-to-day living and caused the world to shut down, more people began to experience its symptoms. As a result, millions of people experienced depression for the first time in their lives.
According to Harvard Medical School, the signs of clinical depression are:
- Distinctly depressed or irritable mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Decreased or increased weight or appetite
- Decreased or increased sleep
- Appearing slowed or agitated
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Poor concentration or indecisiveness
- Thoughts of death, suicide attempts or plans
Upon further investigation, researchers now believe that complexity envelops the onset of clinical depression: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression. Clinical/major depression may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain from a reduction of neurotransmitters. For example, one study with female participants revealed in that the hippocampus, which regulates emotion, can be 9-13% smaller than that of a non-depressed person.
Moreover, the results of the study revealed that the more bouts of depression that occurred, the smaller the hippocampus. Thus, stress created from depression can prevent new neurons from forming in the hippocampus. The levels of serotonin, a mood neurotransmitter that send messages between neurons, decrease, thus, causing the low moods.
Although the origins are different, situational depression has similar symptoms. However, it is triggered by outside events. Read more about how the slowing pacing of life may have added to the stress of COVID and caused situational depression: https://tracinicolesmith.com/the-unbusying-of-pathological-busyness/
For those who are accustomed to bouts of depression, they know how insidious it can be as it sneaks in, and little by little, dominates your life. But, as the globe paused due to the pandemic, the quarantine drew in the unsuspecting who have never experienced any type of depression.
What is reactive/situational depression
Hence, reactional/situational depression occurs on a short-term basis as a result of not being able to adjust to circumstances. The event(s) that cause the depression creates stress, which triggers the reactional depression.
Similarly, the signs of reactional/situational depression are the same as clinical depression. However, as the situation that caused the depression begins to change, the symptoms will lessen.
In the end, depression is depression. Whether is it a lifelong battle or a temporary struggle, addressing your mental health is crucial for your well-being.
Don’t wait for your house guest to leave. Learn how to manage your depression: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline