Talking about depression can be hard, but there is no greater struggle than dealing with depression alone. Historically, depression has been stigmatized because it makes people seem unreliable and unattractive. To add to that, self-stigmatization is often a common symptom of depression, with sufferers feeling ashamed of their condition. But depression is not a personal weakness. After all, this mental illness affects 350 million people worldwide.
To create an open environment and to help foster a societal discussion about this mental illness, TMS Health Solutions presents this list of 15 ideas about depression and its treatment to discuss with others.
Degrees of depression
There are various degrees of depression severity and many symptoms that come with the mental illness. But there is one constant among them all. From seasonal affective disorder—which affects people during the long gray winter months—to the most severe form of depression—known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression—a common symptom is feeling lonely and lost in one’s own self-loathing. Because depression can sometimes be a matter of life and death, always take any suicidal thoughts or calls for help seriously.
When is the appropriate time to discuss depression?
There is no time like the present to talk about depression. When depression first hits, it is hard to know when a problem needs to be addressed. Many of life’s twists and turns are not always pleasant and some situations warrant being sad. The death of a loved one, for example, can often trigger dark and lonesome feelings. Talking about such sadness with people you trust can help you realize that such events are a part of life. Whatever stage or form of depression you are experiencing, the sooner you discuss your emotions the sooner you can start down the road towards recovery.
Who to discuss depression with?
After deciding to discuss your depression, you must now decide who to discuss it with. You can talk to your loved ones because they should have your best interest at heart. If you are looking for absolute confidentiality, then perhaps your primary care physician is a good person to trust. Healthcare providers are bound by confidentiality law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) restricts healthcare providers in their use and release of your personal health information.
Which healthcare professionals are best suited to treat depression?
As stated above, general practitioners are good point of contact to have the initial conversation about depression with, because you already have a working relationship with your doctor. If your depression issues exceed your general practitioner’s expertise, they will likely recommend you see a mental health specialist such as a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, or a licensed mental health counselor. These professionals will be able to create a personalized treatment plan just for you. Contact the team at TMS Solutions to set up an appointment.
What should you discuss when speaking with mental health professionals?
To use the time spent with a mental health specialist wisely, it is recommended that you gather your thoughts and questions about your depression prior to the meeting. Gathering and organizing your thoughts about your symptoms, severity of your symptoms, length of your symptoms, your history of depression, your family’s history of depression, any medications you’re currently taking, your drug and alcohol use, and the occurrence of any major life changes can help your mental health specialist get straight to helping you quickly.
Creating treatment goals
When it is time to discuss your depression with a healthcare professional, it is a good idea to set goals for the discussion. While ending your depression is the end goal, if you break that down into smaller and more manageable milestones you can track your progress and better optimize each discussion. Some good goals for earlier discussions about depression include laying out your experiences for your doctor or setting a recovery scheme. Your doctor can help you put together a daily, weekly, or monthly checklist to help you achieve your ultimate goal of gaining your life back.
Discussing depression for men
Depression affects people from all walks of life. But, for some reason, men have a more difficult time coming to grips with their mental health. Many men confuse depression with sadness and see such sadness a personal weakness or flaw in their masculinity. Nothing is further from the truth. Men, often times, have a more difficult time expressing their emotions and instead wait until physical symptoms arise before seeking help. Men with trusted social support tend to deal with tough depression issues in a healthier way. If you have a good personal social circle, do not be afraid to let your friends bear some of your mental health burdens.
Discussing depression with children
Seeing your child grapple with depression can be one of the hardest experiences as a parent. Going beyond normal fluctuations in mood, childhood depression can manifest itself as disruptive behavior that interferes with social activities, hobbies, schoolwork, or family life. Close to 2.5% of children in America suffer from depression before reaching adulthood. Always approach any discussions about depression with your children from a place of love and be willing to help.
Discussing depression with parents
Discussing depression with a loved one can be scary at times and can be especially unnerving when that loved one is a parent. There is a saying that moms have a second pair of eyes behind their head, but children are often more perceptive than we give them credit for. Seeing day to day changes in a parent’s mood can be a lot to deal with as a child. You are in no way responsible for your parent’s depression, but you do have the potential to help them out of any dark times.
The group approach
Group therapy can be an excellent place to discuss depression because it provides a safe environment of people who have likely gone through similar experiences to yours. Groups can provide you with a great place of discussion and support at a fraction of the cost compared to individual therapy sessions.
There is an ever-growing number of treatment options for those suffering from depression. Traditional treatments include talk therapy and or taking antidepressants. If these traditional methods of treatment prove to not be useful, rest easy knowing there are other, newer types of treatment available.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is a relatively new form of treatment for depression. TMS therapy uses electromagnetic energy to stimulate the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for many important functions including mood regulation. This is a safe, non-invasive, FDA-approved procedure that allows you to immediately resume your daily activities after each session.
Challenge the negative self-talk
Our toughest critic is always ourselves. And when you suffer from depression you give a bullhorn to negative thoughts. When we do not share some of our burden with others, we tend to get stuck in a loop of negative self-talk. Positive affirmations are a way to break the cycle of self-defeating thoughts. Sharing the empty, dark feelings with others can help make them fall apart.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know that there are many people in this world that care about you and want to see brighter days in your life. If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The lifeline is open 24/7/365 and is always free and confidential.
Beginning a discussion about depression can be liberating. Once you start talking about depression, you will find that a lot of people around you also have firsthand experiences with this mental illness. Do not miss an opportunity to gain insight into your own struggles with depression and help others in the same situation. TMS Health Solutions encourages you to spread awareness of depression and its effects in order to foster a better understanding of this mental illness in everyone.