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Veränderungen, die eine schwere depressive Störung verursachen können

von NFI Redaktion

Appearances can be deceiving. Just ask Melissa Drake.

The 50-year-old author and consultant from Southern California says she had a good job, owned a home, and raised a wonderful son. Outwardly, her life looked pretty good. But nothing could have been further from the truth.

Internally, Drake struggled with a severe depressive disorder – a diagnosis she received at the age of 20.

She admits that it is hard to explain what it is like to live with this illness. „I often describe depression as ‚everything and nothing all at once‘ because nothing was truly wrong, but everything felt wrong at the same time.“

Drake is not alone in her feelings.

People often say there is no reason for them to be depressed, but nevertheless, they are. Dr. Shawna Newman, a psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, says that some describe severe depression as living under a cloud or walking through mud.

But upon closer examination, recognizable signs indicating severe depression can be found.

Symptoms of Severe Depression

Depression is not just feeling sad or down. It’s normal to feel sad over losing a job, the death of a loved one, or another sad event, says Newman. The difference is that the symptoms of severe depression last for at least two weeks, are very profound, and are not normal for you at all. Here are some changes you may notice in yourself when suffering from severe depression:

Sadness, emptiness, or irritability. You may seem unable to shake the low mood. You may also be irritable. If you are normally cheerful and are constantly moody, it could be depression.

Loss of interest. You may avoid friends or family or stop doing things that used to bring you joy. You may also lose interest in sex.

Sleep disturbances. It may be difficult to fall asleep or you may toss and turn all night. On the other hand, you may sleep a lot more than usual or take naps during the day.

Changes in eating habits. You might lose interest in eating and lose weight, or you may start overeating and gain weight.

Lack of focus. Work may become difficult because you can’t concentrate. Many people refer to this as „brain fog.“ You may also notice this lack of concentration in your personal life, social life, as well as in personal relationships and conversations.

Changes in energy. Overwhelming weakness and exhaustion can make it difficult or impossible to get off the couch or out of bed. On the contrary, you may be full of energy and restless, or fidgeting in your chair or bed to get comfortable.

Hopelessness. Your outlook may be bleak, and you may see no way out of your depression.

Thoughts of death. These can range from thoughts like „I’d be okay if I just didn’t wake up“ to active suicidal thoughts or actions, says Newman. Formulating a suicide plan or taking actions (such as buying overdose medications) bring these thoughts to the next level. It’s not common, but sometimes people with severe depressive disorder also have thoughts of homicide.

If you feel like you may harm yourself or others, call 911 immediately.

Seek professional help if you have symptoms of severe depression or are unsure why you feel so bad. Treatments such as medication, talk therapy, and others can work wonders. Opening up to a therapist often gives people immediate relief, says Newman.

Drake Finds Peace

The most significant decision Drake made was to find a therapist. „It wasn’t until I understood and accepted that I had to do the work to recover and take steps towards healing that I began to feel better.“

She wanted someone who not only paid lip service but held Drake accountable for the better life she allegedly desired. „She did that, and I am so grateful.“

After emerging from the woods, Drake began searching for things that brought her joy. She began dancing. „It was the medicine I needed for healing. It grounded me and put me back in my body,“ she says.

2020 was particularly tough for Drake. But today, she is doing well. „Far from perfect, but I have come a long way from seven years in bed. I work, I love, I have a great group of friends; I enjoy dancing and nature,“ Drake says. „Even in difficult times, I am generally positive.“

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