Many of us are sad, down, or blue from time to time. It is normal because life does not always deliver what we want. In addition, our energy levels may move up and down through the day or through the seasons, I love the fall. I find there is something invigorating about the cold crisp air and the amazing colours that I see in the changing leaves, as the fall approaches. On the other hand, I am often more reserved during mid February and my energy level is somewhat lower. What if you or a loved one is always “down”
The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us, “Someone experiencing depression is grappling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of their life can be affected, including their emotions, physical health, relationships and work”. Depression is often associated with behaviour that indicates a loss of interest, deep despair, “no light at the end of the tunnel”, and “what is the point”. In 2012 the Statistics Canada Health Analysis Division reported that the life time prevalence of depression is about 12% here in Canada. Again, more than one in ten people, similar in many ways to the prevalence of Anxiety in Canada.
Clearly depression is seen through a dark and gloomy emotional state but can also be recognized through symptoms such as fatigue, reduced capacity to think clearly or remember things, and reduced social interactions (work and play). Deep and chronic depression can be a life-threatening problem but it is treatable. Sometimes all it takes is a concerned friend or family member to start the conversation, lend a compassionate ear, and help them find professional help. You can be that concerned friend and your actions may save a life.