- There’s a whole range of how depressed a person can be.
a. On one end of the spectrum, people may still go to work or school, spend time with friends and family and keep pursuing their hobbies. However, they find they just don’t care very much. Or their energy is really low. Or it feels like life went gray (remember Pleasantville? Yea, gray like that.)---nothing else changed but everything is less exciting, less interesting, more boring or blah. The people who care about them may have no idea anything is wrong. They keep going along in life as always, but they know things are off. They really want to just feel lighter, more like themselves or more like how they think they could be.
b. At the more extreme end of the spectrum, people may not get out of bed. They may cry all day or lie around and binge on Netflix for days and weeks. They may feel so horrible that they don’t want to live anymore. The more intense depressive symptoms are easier to recognize. They’re also very painful for the people experiencing them and for their loved ones.
- Depression can occur at any age and at any point in life. We’re not immune to depression past a certain point in life, nor are we too naive as kids or teens to become depressed.
- Depression can look different for kids and teens. It often presents as anger, irritability, acting out or erratic behavior. Of course, crying and just plain ol’ not-caring can also show up in youth.
- Yes, depression may be more likely to get triggered when other events in your life are not going the way you want, but it doesn’t have to happen that way. People who are content with their lives and who would generally say they’re happy can also become depressed.
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) completed a 2015 study on the prevalence of Major Depression in adults (think middle-toward-stronger-end of the depression spectrum). They found that an average of 6.7% of adults had at least one Major Depression episode in the past year. Know what 6.7% of the U.S. population is? 16.1 million adults!
- NIH also found a higher rate of depression in women (8.5% vs. 4.7% in men. Unfortunately, non-binary or gender non-conforming folks were not identified.) and a higher rate for young adults (10.3% for 18-25 year olds dropping down to 4.8% for those 50+). However, depression can go unrecognized or underreported in men and may be less recognized by older adults. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml
- Depression is one of the MOST COMMON mental health concerns in the U.S. and one of the most common reasons people seek therapy.
Oh my, now I’m going to sound like a prescription drug commercial for a moment—“if you or someone you know is depressed. . .”
Seriously, please reach out if you’re struggling.
You’re not alone.
You have nothing to be ashamed of.
Life doesn’t have to keep being so hard.