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As a person who has gone through and fought massive depression, and continues to fight it this day, I felt it important to bring forth this thread. For anyone who sees any errors, I encourage you to contact a member of the staff. I am afraid I am no longer updating or providing assistance in regards to this guide. Please do not contact me via personal message or visitor message seeking insight. Thank you!

Thanks to @Snakecharmer who posted a recent thread which reminded me of my plans to post this. The thread itself is worth a read, since it too provides a decent portrayal of the struggle against depression and suicide.

Depression and Clinical Depression
Depression is when someone feels sad, down, in the dumps, blue, or something similar. Most people only experience depression in short doses, and often feel better after a comparably short period of time. This sort of short-term depression is normal, and often does not interfere with someone's functioning in day to day life.

However, depression is clinical is when you feel depressed all the time. Symptoms described last for several weeks, are severe, or begin to interfere with one's work, schooling or social life. The feeling of depression is all encompassing, where normally pleasurable activities no longer are pleasurable, and by low self-esteem. It is not something you can just "get over," and can impact anyone, from the richest person in a developed nation to the poorest in another, while leaving someone else in the same position unimpacted. It occurs everywhere in the world, regardless of location, background or ethnicity.

To this date, depression is the leading cause of disability globally. Scientific consensus agrees that depression can and is caused by combinations of biological, psychological, and social impacts. Certain drugs and substance abuse can also cause depressive symptoms. The psychological and biological fields of research on depression are extensive.

You can't just snap out of clinical depression or depressive disorders.
Why is depression important to know about?
Every year, millions of people are forced to take their first steps into a life with depression, and only 20% of them will get the help they need. Massive depression has a mortality rate of 3.4% annually in the United States through suicide, and is the leading cause of suicide amongst everyone in that nation -- 60% of suicides occur because of depression. In total, 15% of people with depressive disorders will kill themselves.

Suicide kills more than double the amount of people in the world that armed conflicts kill every year. For those between 15 and 44, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death, with depression being a primary driver.

16% of adults in the US, and slightly less in the rest of the developed world, will face depressive disorders in their lifetime. In my own nation, 5% of the adult population deals with some form of depression in any given year, as do 9.5% of those in the US. 97% of those people will say that their work, family, home life and relationships sufferred as a result.

Those afflicted with depression face a stigma of having a mental illness. Even though it is not a sign of weakness, and is a disease recognized by the WHO and various other organizations, 54% of our population in Canada still percieve it as a weakness. The WHO also recognizes that rates of depression amongst humans is only getting worse, and is forecasted to become an even larger problem as time goes on. By 2020, only heart disease will be a bigger killer.

Over a hundred billion dollars is lost every year in economic activity because of depression amongst the working population, which impacts us all, whether we know someone who is depressed/are depressed or not.

Depression has been known to complicate other medical conditions. It is a leading risk for cardiovascular disease, and reduces the efficacy of the immune system. Survivability of some diseases or injuries is reduced if the subject suffers from depression -- those who have heart attacks are far more likely to die within six months if they have a depressive disorder.

Many people will be impacted, and will never recieve help. While clinical depression is rarely permanent, it can be dangerous. Be sure that, should you become one of them, or see your friends exhibiting the signs, that they do not become one of them.
A note for women
Women are twice as likely to develop depression than men, and have many more avenues in how they can develop depression. One in ten women will develop post partum depression, which occurs after having a child, and one in five women have risk factors which could cause them to develop depression.

Depression is a leading cause of disabilities amongst women, and 15% of women with severe depression will commit suicide. 41% of women with depressive disorders will not report or seek help for their condition out of embarrassment. Only one in three women will seek professional help for their depression.
A note for men
While fewer men get depression, many more of us kill ourselves than women. Suicide rates amongst men with depression are three times that of women. Men are much more likely to succeed in killing themselves.

Often in men cardiovascular diseases develop more easily with depression.

Those who are divorced, retired, or widowed are more likely to become depressed. In addition, 1 in 7 unemployed men develop depression within six months of becoming unemployed.

As many as 92% of African-American men do not seek treatment, and men overall are far less likely to recieve treatment due to their belief it is a weakness or something they should be able to deal with on their own.
What are the signs?
The National Library of Medicine:

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Very difficult to concentrate
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
  • Becoming withdrawn or isolated
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping

DepressionHurts.ca lists the following:


  • Sadness throughout the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in or enjoyment of your favorite activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of irritability
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Aches and pains (such as headaches, stomach pain,
    joint pains or other pains)
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Feelings of restlessness or being slowed down

Risk Factors via Mayoclinic are:


  • Having biological relatives with depression
  • Being a woman
  • Having traumatic experiences as a child
  • Having biological relatives with a history of alcoholism
  • Having family members who have committed suicide
  • Experiencing stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one
  • Having few friends or other personal relationships
  • Recently haven given birth (postpartum depression)
  • Having a depressed mood as a child
  • Having a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's or HIV/AIDS
  • Having personality traits, such as having low self-esteem and being overly dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
  • Abusing alcohol, nicotine or illicit drugs
  • Being poor
  • Taking certain high blood pressure medications, sleeping pills or certain other medications (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication you think could be affecting your mood)


It is best to consult with a doctor, as these are not complete lists of all possible symptoms. Because of it's broad impact on people, depression comes with many symptoms, and can impact just about any portion of someone's life.

In my own case, I became nocturnal (insomnia is more common with 80% of depressed persons, but I developed hypersomnia, or oversleeping, which impacts 15% of those with depression), withdrew socially almost completely save for some online contact, barely did anything pleasurable (my TV was not on for eight months, many of my bookshelves were untouched), felt guilty, empty, and hopeless at just about all times, and experienced severe joint pain and aches. I was always irritable, always sleepy, barely concentrated and had almost no drive to do anything. I only left the apartment for food, and did not take very good care of myself -- I was a lot less healthy, gained a lot of weight and let my appearance go to hell.

When my friends noticed something was wrong, it still took me two weeks to get up the energy and determination to visit the doctor -- who has almost no waiting time and works only five blocks from where I lived. In part, it was because I not only avoided making decisions, but also felt like I couldn't plan, that if something went wrong it was impossible to handle otherwise.

You do not need to get this bad before you see a doctor. That it took me so long was a massive mistake. If a friend tells you something is wrong, or you feel something is wrong, and believe it may be depression, see a doctor. It is worth your time.
What to watch out for in others
A short questionairre which you or others can complete can be found here, which can be brought to your doctor for future discussion. A symptom check is here. Only a doctor can actually diagnose depression.

DepressionHurts.ca has a list of what phrases might be common for people sufferring from depression, and also notes to keep an eye out for any of the above symptoms as well.

In addition, certain risk factors can help you see who may be more likely to develop depression around you as well.

The list of phrases can be found here.

Should a friend appear to be seeing some of these symptoms, encourage them to seek professional help from a medical professional, like a doctor. For those who have experienced these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, at a severe level or at the point where it has continually impacted your work, schooling or social life, I encourage you to see a doctor as well.

It is better to be safe than sorry.
Seeking treatment
See a doctor.

Diagnosis will involve a short clinical assessment of some questions and a review of the symptoms with a doctor or certified professional. A mental state examination may also occur to gauge your current thoughts and mood. Doctors can also perform other examinations of your physical health (I had my blood drawn, for example), and an assessment on other mental health conditions. When they have confirmed that you have depression, you can begin treatment. It is better to catch depression in it's early stages than in it's late stages.

Often, those who report depressive syndromes are sent to a specialist, including psychiatrists and psychologists, for evaluation. They are more skilled at correctly finding the correct form of depression, and correctly identifying depression than your typical primary care doctor, as they are specifically trained to identify it.

Unfortunately, society provides a negative view of depression, prescribing it the title of a weakness or something you can snap out of rather than correctly identifying it as a disease. Many people fight depression quietly as a result, never seeking help which they may need desperately.

Treatment for depression is one of the more successful fields in the field of psychiatry, and is the most treatable mental illness. Common treatments include the use of medication such as anti-depressants, as well as psychological counselling, although these treatments can be augmented and supported by other methods. Talk to a medical professional to find out which treatment method will be best for you -- they can help and guide you through this process and tailor a treatment process to your needs better than non-experts here.

For those who choose the a route which includes medication (often supplemented with other forms of support), it often does take some time for medication to work. Dosages often need to be changed and slowly increased to have the desired impact, and sometimes certain drugs don't work. I myself went through three drugs before one worked on me, as the other two did not, possibly due to the pathways they used to normalize my mood.

Medication does not come in the form of "happy pills." These drugs are not designed to make you happy, one of the reasons you will not find them on the black market all that often. Most medication is designed to be normalizers, to remove or counteract the impact of depression on your mood and allow your normal self to reassert itself. Some people have positive experiences with drugs, like myself. Others do not.

These drugs should always be taken with the supervision of a recognized medical professional. It is dangerous to change dosages or stop treatment without medical supervision. Often, one must leave these drugs slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Please keep in mind that it is also possible to have side effects to these drugs. Side effects were one of the reasons why I switched to my current course of treatment, and is an option for those who have medication as part of their treatment.

The support of friends and family is important to the process.
Resources:
There are many sites out there which offer support or resources for those who are undergoing treatment or need help with depression, and with suicide. I encourage all to search for their local listings or the internet for resources on the topic.

For those from Canada, depressionhurts.ca, which is one of the main sites I used in the creation of this guide and which has been on the TV often lately, does provide a list of available resources for those who would like them. I'd also recommend it as a resource for anyone wondering about depression.

Link.

For those in the United States, these are recommended:


If anyone needs any help finding potential resources on depression, please feel free to post in this thread!

I am here to provide friendly, non-expert support and encourage those at risk to seek medical intervention, as well as share to my experiences with depression and advise the public to it's dangers. I would also encourage others to do so.​
 

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Thanks for posting. I guess I have depression, although I'm not in a situation where I can seek external help, so any advice on self-help or something would be nice (not to be depressing, heh).
 

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Hello,

Sorry for the lack of a response, I've been somewhat sick for the past three weeks and the consequences have necessarily cut into my online time!

I would like to state quickly that I'd hope that if you have access to the internet that you could have periodic access to even a general practitioner. When I first began going to see a doctor, I saw a GP for three months before we made the decision to include psychotherapy as part of my treatment, especially given that the first drug we had tried did not work as well as we had hoped it would. Are you sure that you are unable to see anyone, not even a school counselor or a quick visit to a doctor?

It's in my view that the best way to go about these things is to see a medical professional above all else. A lot of our nations have or are working towards universal care and they are doing so for a reason -- this is one of those reasons. I'd really encourage you to take advantage of any available avenue, since anything I recommend should be taken with a grain of salt, as I am no expert, and should only be done in conjunction with sound treatment from any available medical professional. I know I am beginning to sound like a broken record but this is of singular importance, especially if you are in a situation where you are being deprived of access.

With someone who can provide you care, recovery becomes the norm, not the exception -- 80% find a method of treatment which completely treats their issues with a professional.

There are some things you can do to help your mood. These can be listed in four major categories:

1) Sleep: Sleep is incredibly importance, and for me was one of the root causes of my issues. You should keep a regular sleep schedule, of at least eight hours and not too much more (I'd try not to go past nine and would sleep less than ten for sure) since too much sleep can cause adverse impacts on your health and mood. Avoid the consumption of too much caffeine -- if you are dependent on it, try weening yourself off of it a bit VERY, VERY slowly (again, too big a change can cause negative mood impacts). Try not to nap during the day, don't eat a lot right before going to bed, and try not to be overly active before bed -- before bed, your activities should be low impact. Leave studying for outside your room when possible, keep electronics outside of it, and if you must have them in the room, make sure they are turned off. Your bedroom should be for two things mainly -- sleep and sex.

2) Stress: Again, leave things that stress you outside of the bedroom, as well as things which remind you of work or which will try and make you do something other than sleep. Try to manage time effectively. Working out can help with stress, as can things like Yoga, breathing exercises, martial arts, massage and so forth. Stress and the damage it causes is additive -- the longer you deal with it, the worse it gets and the more damage it does! Make sure you are well prepared for situations which instill stress and you'll be surprised how much better you feel.

3) Exercise: As mentioned in the last section, exercise! Great way to get the needed stimulation into your system, helps you feel awake, and fights what a lot of us with depression get -- fatigued and lethargic! Some people with mild depression finds that beginning to work out does a world of good for them on it's own. It relieves stress and anxiety (especially if you are punching something, haha!) and produces endorphines, which enhance your mood.

4) Food and Drink: Caffeine is not a great thing for you, and alcohol is a depressant -- generally, you should stay away from the latter, especially in excess, and use as little of the former as possible (but remember to ween yourself VERY slowly if you decide to reduce caffeine intake). Try to drink water, or beverages which are largely water, since this helps your system by keeping you and your cells hydrated. Likewise, be careful with your sugar intake and animal fats, since while these can make you feel good, it slowly transitions into needing these to feel normal to some degree -- which sucks! Remember to try and moderate your intake! As for what to eat, remember the food pillar! Lots of fruit, veggies and carbohydrates, and try to eat some more fish generally as well! Omega 3 is a wonderful fatty acid, especially for those who are depression, and some B vitamins will definitely help you as well with energy if you are eating enough carbs as well!​

Hopefully this provides some help to someone!
 

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Thank you for posting this. I know personally two people who committed suicide after suffering from depression. They were talented, smart, beautiful people. Their talents were shining lights that were doused by the tragedy of depression. I am sad that they and their gifts were taken away too soon. I miss them so much.
As for me, I lived for a long time with a low-level depression, called dysthymia. Exercise helped me a great deal in getting over this depression. Also, I had a good therapist, who helped me with other problems, including phobias and nightmares from a very challenging time in my life (when I was bullied in junior high school).
Walking has done wonders for me. It creates endorphins and I feel functional and not depressed.
 

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If you are concerned about mental illness and its treatment, then Anatomy of an Epidemic is a must read:

Amazon.com: Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America (9780307452412): Robert Whitaker: Books

The book examines the rise of psychiatric drugs and the increase in mental illness. Thank you for reading.
I just read that book and have referenced it on here a few times. It truly is a must read.
 

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This is a beautifully compact post @Khar. Thank you for starting a very necessary thread. Not only is it well-articulated, it is well-informed and helpful.
I will just post and say this that oftentimes what you might be experiencing won't be there on lists. There are many uncommon symptoms of depression like anger, irritability, escapism or even start of other disorders like eating disorders or something else. If you ever feel that there is anything wrong with you, any emotional pain, anything, you should go see a psychologist.
That is the one good thing I did. I think it was just a month or two after I realized that something not physiological is wrong with me that i went and saw a doctor.
My symptoms included short-temper, unexpected mood swings that usually culminated in me throwing things in my room or yelling at people unnecessarily, lethargy, sleeplessness, for a brief period of time excessive sleeping(as much as 14-15 hours). But since my outward symptoms were rare in the presence of people, no-one guessed anything was wrong. Even when I had problem swallowing my food(i thought i'd choke) my parents assumed it was physiological. Another major giveaway was that I had found myself waking up from sleep to my own screaming(this happened only 2-3 times though). But i had been embarrassed that I had no control over myself and had boxed it all up.
The major problem that most people face when going to doctor is that they think they can handle it themselves.If it's monday morning blues you can, if it's clinical depression you can't. People have this general belief that only physiological diseases are ones that require professional intervention and if you have strength of the mind, mental diseases can be cured. This is not true. Mental strength has as little to do with mental illnesses as physical strength has to do with physical diseases. How much you can endure does not determine how much you should endure.
If you are displaying any symptoms at all, please don't hesitate to ask help from a professional.
 
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The trick of depression is that it feels so permanent, so hopeless. Sometimes suicide does truly feel like the only way out. But... it can be surprising how helpful talking to others about it can be. Reach out to someone. It can make all the difference. Just beginning that dialogue with a friend, getting the feelings out, can be very helpful. Half of the pain of depression comes from bottling all those awful feelings inside.
 

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I have suffered from depression for many years and this thread is very informative and essential.Please if you feel like you are in a black hole and can't get out of it seek some professional help from your GP or other mental health specialist.
 

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Prost! Brother! "Do all of these things" I already know that, but i don't do them. Drink another beer :cool: We are all aboard the train that leads to nowhere.
 

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Thanks for posting. I guess I have depression, although I'm not in a situation where I can seek external help, so any advice on self-help or something would be nice (not to be depressing, heh).
If you arent in situation to seek help, its also possible to try to research on Omega-3 oils (EPA, DHA), supported with vitamines to metabolize (like vitamine E). Omega-3 oils: usually in form of fish oil, for example destilated from salmon.
Its not that uncomon that this thing helps more that antidepresants and its having behind solid scientific evidence, so its worsty to start mini-research. As I see, you are online:D

Good luck with treating depression, but its better anyway to seek consultation.
 

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I think I suffer from depression, part of the source is that I have no identity, and am constantly searching for one (even though I know that an identity is determined by your actions, whether they be intellectual or otherwise). When something threatens my preconceived notions of who I am, I fall deeply into those self-loathing feelings- and I fear that they may be more subconscious than I initially surmised.

Always feel like there are things I shouldn't be- and I don't think this is an integral part of my psychology inasmuch as a facet of my depression (or maybe I'm just making excuses...)
 

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Depression and Bipolar support alliance (DBSA)

dbsa.org

A site that offers local support groups, 24/7 forums, on line forums and a host of information which
supports those with mental illness challenges and the families that care for them.
 

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If you arent in situation to seek help, its also possible to try to research on Omega-3 oils (EPA, DHA), supported with vitamines to metabolize (like vitamine E). Omega-3 oils: usually in form of fish oil, for example destilated from salmon.
Its not that uncomon that this thing helps more that antidepresants and its having behind solid scientific evidence, so its worsty to start mini-research. As I see, you are online:D

Good luck with treating depression, but its better anyway to seek consultation.
take a look at dbsa.org
a web site that offers tons of support and support forums for folks with depression and other mental illnesses.
 
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take a look at dbsa.org
a web site that offers tons of support and support forums for folks with depression and other mental illnesses.
Thanks. Im not suferring from depression and dont have family menber in this condition. But I noted down page you recomended
because Im not english speaker and Im on research of biological aspect of mental illness. Make note with quality internet page would be for me much easier than translate!!!! :D
 

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for me the biology of my disease is the inbalance of my neurotransmitters. typically caused by "kindling" over the years, making up for high anxiety situations and learning to "survive" at all cost. the brain is a powerful organ, constantly making up for losses, however it seems from years of abuse and "over and over making up for losses" has taken it's toll. the balance no longer exist and the medications really seem to help stabilize me. without the medication I am unable to function. my best psychiatrist, and I've had about 10 in the past 20 years made a good point when he said, " if the meds work you'll know, when you don't take them
you get worse, when you do take them, you can function". So I've run with that for about 10 years. when I don't take them, he's right, I'm all over the map and that leads to erratic behaviors. Biologically speaking, wikipedia offers translation assistance, microsoft 7 also offers a translation program. google it and you may find that it's easier than you may realize how to download a translation program. bipolar world, med line, psychiatric times all have good articles, journals etc. written about the bio's of the disease. good luck.
 

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god, i sound like an idiot. as you can tell from my post, i'm spending too much time and energy on bipolar and not enough on
personality traits.
I'll work on that.
 

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sounds like you are over analyzing yourself. go with what your heart tells you, at least initially. what do you like to do? what do you do well? give those personality characteristics time to develop. IF you jump around from task to task, it may be adhd. have you seen a specialist to discuss behavior issues?
keep a journal for about 2-4 weeks and write down each day, even hourly if necessary what your thinking and what you are doing.
what your goals for the day are and what you actually accomplished. when you do go see a doctor, you won't have to rely on memory for specifics, the journal is an invaluable tool.
believe in yourself. No one else will believe in you like you will.
Good luck - any questions, send private message.
 

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Something that merits mention is the Anxiety that can take up residence along side Depression. It's a reaction to the negative self-statements, the changes in appetite and energy, and a host of other issues. Anxiety also arises in people who have suicidal ideation but no plan to carry the thoughts out (aka never attempt suicide) - don't discount that anxiety. Once anxiety and depression mix, it's a wise idea to seek medication in addition to counseling.
 
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