I've never thought much about 'mental health' seems like a bit of an oxymoron to me but I've been reading quite a lot lately about depression and bi-polar disorders since the symptoms really fit a friend of mine.
Strange, I read that 1 in 7 people have depression or bi polar. I remember feeling very depressed just after I lost my job in 2008. Tears, lethargy, worthlessness and I ticked all the boxes on those online questionnaires. Clare said "Mum, you're not depressed, you're just sad and it will pass." She was right, I was sad. Probably for about a year and it did pass. So how do you tell the difference between the disease and sadness? Worse still, how do you get someone to recognise their symptoms and do something about it?
The symptoms of a major depressive episode include:
- depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (definitely evident at the moment)
- markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective report or observation made by others)
- significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), a decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day
- psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day
- fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)
- diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)
- recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide
- Sexual interest, appetite, and general interest rapidly drops. Stops answering the phone, stops visiting friends/relatives, stays secluded.
This is from a reputable psychiatric site, not just a 'mood' questionnaire. Apparently most 'depressed' people are taken to their doctor or therapist or both by friends and family. I hope my friend's family have the stamina to take that step. I'm too far away to be of use on that level and it tears me apart.
How were you persuaded to seek medical help?