A friend called me. I always perceive this person as positive, optimistic, with a sense of humor, a
beautiful person. In fact, when Caller ID displays that friend’s ID, I’m immediately happy to hear the voice and talk for a while. So when this friend said depression was a problem and asked if I could recommend someone to talk to, I was surprised. Given altruistic inclinations, I immediately felt the need to help.
I made a few suggestions. After making sure suicide was not a problem, I told my friend that I was only a phone call away if I was needed. I will help in any way possible. And I pray that my friend finds the right person to help him. And I’ve been thinking about my friend throughout the hours since we spoke. Have I done enough?
Over the years that I’ve written for Family Recovery Center, I’ve written on many topics, including depression and suicide. From time to time, I’ve been told that the articles have helped readers – our neighbors across the county; that they got the help they needed, perhaps not realizing they were depressed until they read the symptoms.
The effects of Covid have unmasked everyone’s emotional issues. Friends who met for dinner at the restaurant, then played cards, have not met for two years. They don’t seem able to get back together, some can’t remember how to play the games, or maybe they just don’t know why they can’t get back to the way things were before. They seem to have lost their connection with each other and are sitting at home, staring out the window, waiting for something.
It’s so easy to get lost, to not be able to understand anything.
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “It causes severe symptoms which affect the way you feel, think and deal with daily activities such as eating, sleeping or working, things that have been happening almost every day for over two weeks.
And look at this: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized that having certain mental disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, can make people more likely to become seriously ill from Covid-19.”
Some of the symptoms, felt almost every day for at least two weeks, include:
¯ Persistent, sad, “anxious,” Where “empty” mood.
¯ Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
¯ Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness.
¯ Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.
¯ Less energy, less fatigue.
¯ Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
¯ Sleep problems, restlessness.
¯ Suicidal thoughts or attempts.
And take a look at the definition of “disorder”: “a state of confusion; disruption of peaceful and law-abiding behavior”; “a disease or condition that interferes with normal physical or mental functions.”
Depression can happen to anyone, and it can be so subtle that you don’t realize it. Antidepressants may be prescribed. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises, “…patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be monitored closely, especially during the first few weeks.”
Some things you can do during treatment include:
¯ Be more active and exercise.
¯ Set realistic goals.
¯ Spending time with others; confide in someone you trust.
¯ Avoid isolation; let others help you.
¯ Understand that improvement will happen gradually.
¯ Don’t make big decisions — marriage, divorce, changing jobs, etc. — until you feel better.
¯ Learn more about depression.
For more information on depression, visit online: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression.
Addiction doesn’t have an address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information on education, prevention and treatment programs for drug addiction and related behavioral problems, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or by email, [email protected] Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. The FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services.