What is Major Depression?**
Major depression is a brain disorder that is much more than temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical health. It is a biologically based brain disease, not a weakness....Some people have one episode of depression in a lifetime, but many have recurrent episodes. Others have ongoing, chronic symptoms. Gee, I'm doubly blessed. I get it both ways!! Seriously, the chronic symptoms are managed through medication, and I usually (but not always) realize when things start to slide into a more major episode, at which time I seek psychotherapy/counseling Since 1990 I have had three major episodes which have ultimately resulted in job loss. It is because of this I receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). As I mentioned in the "B is for BVHE" post, I like my current part-time position. But if something should occur on my part or theirs, I have SSDI to fall back on.
The onset of the first episode of major depression may not be obvious if it is brief or mild. Unrecognized or left untreated, however, it may recur with greater seriousness or progress to a syndrome that includes a profoundly sad or irritable mood lasting at least two weeks and accompanied by pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, energy, ability to concentrate and remember, interest in usual activities, and capacity to experience pleasure.
Of all the mental disorders, depressive illnesses are among the most responsive to treatment. With available treatment, 80% of people with serious depression can improve and return to their normal daily activities and feelings, usually in a matter of weeks. But if an individual's depression tends to recur once treatment is discontinued--a significant number of people have recurrent depression--the the illness can be handled with ongoing treatment....Major depression is a medical illness that produces emotional symptoms, so both medication and psychotherapy mat be needed to treat it. The objective of treatment is to lessen the duration and intensity of the episodes of illness and to prevent their recurrence. I currently take three medications to help control my depression: Seroquel (minimum dosage at night to assist with normal sleep), Effexor XR, and Wellbutrin. I am not currently in therapy of any kind, a psychiatrist oversees my medications quarterly. The most troublesome side-effect I have is excessive sweating and being prone to overheating. Both Effexor and Seroquel can cause this. I have come close to heat stroke only once, and never want to do so again. I know to carry water and/or sports drinks with me when I walk, ride a bike, and expect to be out in the sun. I always have a container of fluid in the cup holder in my car. I have permission of the stores I service to carry and consume water while working, as long as I am discreet about it.