Feel Great

Crazy Colleen: Delving into Depression

by Colleen Baker, mental health blogger

(Courtesy of depressioncell.com)

Dictionary.com defines depression as “a condition of generaal emotional dejection and withdrawal, sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.”

Can you relate to this definition? eeling dejected or sad these days? Do you feel like you can’t shake the sadness away? Chances are, you are not alone within this university, your individual college, your dorm, your floor, or even within the walls of your room. Depression comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and affects almost everyone in its own way at some point. The definition above states two thoughts—one describing it as a condition and another explaining what it can feel like. Depression can go from a clinical disorder all the way down to the usual “rainy day blues.” We have all felt it. The sky seems a bit grayer, everything people are saying to you seems like it isn’t real and you can’t help but want to simply cry or sleep. But some individuals feel this way every day, all day, with no escape from the dark clouds hanging overhead.

Clinical depression—the kind that is diagnosed and seems never ending—has become something of an epidemic within our world. UpliftProgram.com lists numerous statistics describing the severity of depression within our country and others around the world:

  • Depressive disorders affect approximately 18.8 million American adults or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
  • Everyone, will at some time in their life be affected by depression — their own or someone else’s, according to Australian Government statistics. (Depression statistics in Australia are comparable to those of the US and UK.)
  • Pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants. At least four percent of preschoolers—over a million—are clinically depressed.
  • 15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.

All of these statistics prove that depression needn’t be seen as something to go through alone. Our world is now full of individuals fighting against the mental anguish that is the result of depression—even preschoolers.

I remember being a 4th grader suffering from severe depression without even knowing it. I sat in class, watching the other girls dance around and laugh, while all I wanted to do was simply cry. I would go to counseling and sit in the waiting room with my mother and sob, for I could hear the sounds of happier children with their mothers outside running around, being happy—not going into therapy. I just couldn’t shake it. Life seemed so gray to me, even as a 10-year old. Luckily, for most individuals handed the unlucky card of childhood, adolescent or even adult depression, it will not be the definition of your existence for the rest of your life.

I find it interesting and rather upsetting that this statistic could even exist: 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness.

Our brains are the center of our Central Nervous system. We have neurotransmitters being shot back and forth between neurons within the brain, making us happy, sad or excited—or making us depressed. For those with clinical depression, these neurotransmitters are simply not doing the best job at keeping the “happy” juices flowing within the brain. Depression is simply a dysfunction within the brain’s transfer of neurotransmitters. Depression is NOT due to someone being weak, lazy, or stupid.

So many individuals, including my past self, walk around the world, unsure of why they feel the way they do and simply blame themselves. People find difficulty with the idea that our brains can become “sick” just like our lungs or our nasal passages. We would never laugh at someone who has emphysema. We would always support someone with cancer or a life-threatening physical illness.

I wish to impose upon you a fortune cookie motto I lead my daily life by: “The mightiest oak in the forest was just a little “nut” that held its ground.” I like to see myself as this so-called “nut,” for that may be what the world thinks of us suffering from a mental disease, but I see us as learning from the experience, growing higher and higher as individuals, and gaining more knowledge of ourselves than anyone else ever could.

Counseling Center: 315-443-4715. Help is never out of reach.

Editor’s Note: What the Health Online and What the Health magazine are not licensed to give medical advice. The tips above are simply tips from a student with experience. If you are struggling with a mental disorder, please refer to your doctors to seek options that are right for you.