It Could Be Depression

There was a time when reading used to make everything better for you. From fixing your broken heart, shortening a lengthy day, cooling your nerves just before an important interview and even uplifting your lowly moods. Those days, you could be passing through hell and not even realize it because books offered you a nice escape, to beautiful shores, Rocky Mountains, deserts whose air was laden with too much dust you wanted to cover your eyes with your hands by just reading about them. These days, you hardly enjoy a book. As a matter of fact, you are finding it increasingly hard to pick a book and start reading. Every time you talk yourself into reading one, you barely go through the first ten pages before the over powering urge to stop comes again. There are ten books all book marked at page ten that you have started to read in this past week alone but couldn’t go beyond the tenth page. You don’t get the kick you used to get from reading anymore. You have tried movies but realized every time you start watching one, your thoughts wander. The movie plays on till the end only for you to realize you have no idea what the movie was even about.

You can’t read, you can’t watch a movie, and as if this is not enough, you can’t seem to fall asleep at night. On those nights when you fall asleep, you can’t stay asleep for more than two hours. And on those days (which is every day by the way) you have nothing to keep you company apart from your own thoughts. You realize you would give anything just to run away from this hopelessness that has descended upon your world.
Three quarters of the time you are lying in your bed turning, tossing and even then, you don’t want to get out of that very bed where you lie gazing into space. Every time you push yourself to get up, the farthest you get is to the bathroom. Just to empty your bowels and pee, take a really quick shower on the day when you feel it is absolutely necessary, serve yourself a mountain of food and sit on the bed that you last made two weeks ago, and eat all that food. You have added a few inches to your waist, the clothes hug your body more, three skirts are threatening to burst at the seams. You know you are headed for obesity but that is the least of your worries now.

You know you are supposed to feel better in the morning but all days are the same old and dull to you. You feel as lonely on Friday nights as you feel every Monday morning. Your friends no longer call. They are tired of the lack of enthusiasm on your voice when you finally choose to answer their calls. You have missed friendship re unions with no explanation and they are tired of trying to pull you down from your high horse. Your mother has made peace with the fact that you are going to call home once in a blue moon. She is okay if you are okay. You don’t care about social media any more. You are tired of running into your ex everywhere in these streets of face book. You are tired of trying to tell yourself that he doesn’t deserve you. Probably you are the one who doesn’t deserve him with your body looking like a roto tank with all the eating you have been doing.

You feel so empty; you have a pain that you can’t even describe. You slap yourself. You want to feel physical pain. You wish for someone to come and beat you up. Or even for a matatu to run over you, break a limb, break something in your body, leave you in a coma where you will lie and wake up and scream over a physical pain.

You know whatever is happening to you is not even normal. You are in a place to the extreme left of sadness. If you could walk even a little bit, then walk yourself to the bus station and ask them to drop you at a hospital gate. Because you are depressed and if it is going to get worse, you will commit suicide…

Most of your friends aren’t even going to realize that you are depressed. If anything, they will accuse you of all sorts of things. Maybe we can’t blame them. We live in a society that has taught us that it is okay to be unhappy. That we don’t even deserve too much happiness. That we can’t blame anything in our lives for the feelings that we feel.

Depressed or just sad?

Romantic heartbreaks, death of loved ones, illnesses, accidents and many more unfortunate events are inevitable as long as one lives, and so is sadness. Sadness is the normal reaction to these constant pains of life.

A sad person will have disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, and ruminations on sad thoughts and feelings, but a depressed person will also experience these symptoms. So what really is the difference between sadness and depression?
Unlike sadness, depression tends to last longer. And in addition to these symptoms, depressed person experience the inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia), hopelessness, and the inability to feel a mood uplift in response to something positive( loss of mood reactivity), which doesn’t happen in normal sadness.

Are you depressed or just sad?

So how do you know if you are depressed? Here are some of the symptoms of depression;

1. Depressed mood most of the day
For Children and adolescents, look out for an irritable mood
2. Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities ( previously enjoyable activities become boring)
3. Over eating or under eating or weight loss or gain when not dieting

4. Lack of sleep or excessive sleeping
5. Restlessness or being slowed down observable by others
6. Fatigue or loss of energy
7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive inappropriate guilt
(Reduced selfesteem.)
8. Reduced ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
9. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation, a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Other persons will not experience the classical symptoms of depression. They will instead experience multiple pains and body discomfort. These are people who move from doctor to doctor and have been treated for all manner of illnesses, but with no improvement.
Here are some of the symptoms they present with,
– frequent headaches
-pressure/fullness in head, – GI fullness/gas, noise, nausea
– low libido
-low back pain
Who gets depressed?
No person is immune to depression. Anyone can be depressed, but some people are more predisposed than others.
Here are those who are likelier to be depressed:
– Women more than men
Some careers- doctors, nurses, military personnel
-the unemployed
The youth, the old
Depressed so?
Depression is a disease like any other. It is treatable.
The first step towards healing is to accept that you are indeed depressed, and that you need help.
So once you suspect that you are depressed, see your psychiatrist asap.
A psychiatrist will know how to help. If you don’t have a psychiatrist, see any doctor who will then link you up with a psychiatrist.
Be a different African. Refuse to accept sadness as a part of life. Its not normal