For some people, it’s temporary, hanging out for a day and gone. For others it lingers, following you around for days. You may never know when it is coming, but when it is hanging over you, you are well aware. I am talking about depression. It’s like a cloud that follows you around. It can feel like a big, grey, puffy cloud. Puffy because sometimes their is comfort in the cloud being around, it can feel like a friend.
There are two forms of depression, situational and chemical. Situational is when an event leads to depression. This would be similar to feeling low after not getting a promotion, or getting a low grade in class when you thought you did better. In these situations the “cloud” of depression hangs out for a while, but you are able to burst through the cloud and reach the sun on the other side. Chemical is when your body does not make enough serotonin. Often people in this situation need to take medication to boost the serotonin levels. It is also important to note some medications, such a prednisone, can cause your mood to lower due to it’s chemical component. If you suffer with depression it is important to inform your family physician, especially when being prescribed medications.
Self disclosure, I take a low dose antidepressant. For women like myself, when we reach the age of perimenopause, one of the many symptoms is depression. It does not affect all women. Also, low levels of vitamin D and dehydration can have an affect on mood, often lowering or flattening your mood. Last year I recognized a flattening in my mood. It was important for me to combine medication with talk therapy. Talk therapy is very important when suffering with depression. I share this because I feel it is important to break the stigma of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, ADD, OCD are just some of the few mental illnesses so many people suffer with, suffering is not necessary. Why is it we can take a high blood pressure medication or high cholesterol medication without shame but we feel shame when taking care of our brain. I’m here to say, there is no shame we need to feel safe caring for the brain as much as what’s holding it up! This is why I share, to let others know you are not alone, even therapists deal with the affects of depression and other mental illnesses.
What can you do about your depression? Make sure you get your annual physical, also for adults getting blood work is important. Being open with your physician about how you feel emotionally. Feeling low: push yourself to be with high mood people, get exercise, drink the recommended amount of water for you, get 10 minutes of sun on your skin without sunscreen*. Make sure to apply sunscreen after! Also, you can always make an appointment with me. I understand the road you are traveling and the cloud that follows.
*It is not recommended you go unexposed in the sun during peak hours. After 5 PM and early morning. Please discuss with your physician the best protocol for you.