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When you recognize the signs of depression

A friend called me. I always perceive this person as positive, upbeat, with a sense of humor, a

beautiful person. In fact, when Caller ID flashes the identity of this friend, I am 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 leanings, I immediately felt the need to help.

I made a couple of suggestions. After I made sure that suicide was not an issue, I told my friend I am just a phone call away if I am needed. I will help any way that I can. And I pray that my friend finds the right person to help. And I have thought of my friend throughout the hours since we spoke. Have I done enough?

Over the years that I have penned articles for Family Recovery Center I have written about many topics, including depression and suicide. Occasionally, word has been forwarded to me that the articles have helped readers – our neighbors throughout the county; that they have received the help they needed, perhaps not realizing they were depressed until they read the symptoms.

The effects of Covid have unmasked the emotional issues of everyone. Friends who used to meet for supper at a restaurant, then played cards, have not met for two years. They don’t seem able to get pulled back together, some don’t remember how to play the games, or maybe they just don’t really know why they can’t get back to the way things were before. They seem to have lost their connections to each other, and sit at home, staring out the window, waiting for something.

It’s so easy to become lost, to not be able to make sense of anything.

Depression is a common but serious mood disorder, says the National Institute of Mental Health. “It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as eating, sleeping, or working, things that have gone on nearly every day for more than two weeks.

And look at this: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recognized thatmhaving certain mental disorders, including depression and schizophrenia, can make people more likely to get severely ill from Covid-19.”

Some of the symptoms, experienced nearly every day for at least two weeks include:

¯ Persistent, sad, “anxious,” or “empty” mood.

¯ Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.

¯ Irritability.

¯ Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.

¯ Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.

¯ Less energy, fatigue.

¯ Difficult to concentrate, remember, or make decisions.

¯ Sleep problems, restlessness.

¯ Suicidal thoughts or attempts.

And take a look at the definition of “disorder”: “a state of confusion; the disruption of peaceful nd law-abiding behavior”; “an illness or condition that disrupts normal physical or mental functions.”

Depression can happen to anyone, and it can be so subtle you don’t realize it is there. Antidepressants may be prescribed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises, “…patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks.”

Some things you can do during treatment include:

¯ Be more active and exercise.

¯ Set realistic goals.

¯ Spend time with others; confide in someone you trust.

¯ Avoid isolation; let others help you.

¯ Understand that improvement will be a gradual thing.

¯ Don’t make important decisions — marriage, divorce, job changes, etc. — until you feel better.

¯ Learn more about depression.

For more information about depression, visit online: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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