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Davis Journal

The season of depression

Jan 02, 2024 03:19PM ● By John Waterbury

The purpose in providing these mental health articles is to increase everyone’s awareness of them and to provide tools and techniques to manage them.  In the more extreme cases, I want everyone to be able to recognize the symptoms as early as possible and give them the hope that these issues can be managed, either by yourself, or in the more serious cases they can be treated effectively with professional assistance.  

Too often, mental health issues, if not recognized and treated early, can result in confusion, loss, and pain, both for the individual and for those who are close.  If depression is not recognized and treated early, life can be filled with anger, depression, hopelessness, and increased vulnerability to life’s challenges.

Some of the other issues that occur and which are often overlooked include:  Headaches and frustration. Loss of interest in daily leisure activities, and increasing periods of irritability and distress.  A tightness in the chest can make the depressed individual think he’s having a heart attack. Sleeping schedules become erratic, and very frequently, friends and family members stay away because of fear and anger.  Irritable moods increase in frequency and intensity.  The depressed individuals tend to drift away from family and neighbors.  They often miss deadlines at school or work, or their performance continues to decline until they are confronted, suspended, of fired.  Body pain increases, and numerous excuses are made for sore backs.  Depressed individuals seem to be unhappy more of the time.  They often use up any sick days, blaming others, either at home or work.  People tend to stay away from them.  As a result, the depressed individual often reaches a point where they are unable to feel happy, so they stay away from others.  And their feeling of being alone increase.

Depression brings with it a combination of other symptoms including self-reproach, anger and guilt.  Additional pains increase in frequency and intensity in the shoulders, neck, and back.  Dizziness may be problematic as the individual bumps into numerous things.  Blaming increases, loss of interest in sex occurs, and slowly the depressed individual becomes more of a loner, slowly pushing away everyone who was close to the depressed person.  Anxiety increases, palpitations increase heart rate, shortness of breath occurs, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to breathe.  Thoughts of death and suicide increase, and yet the depressed individual slowly pushes away from anyone who may be able to help.  Fatigue and loss of energy create reasons to stay alone.

At this point, the family needs to contact the doctor because the depressed individual child or adult is not able to use logic and rational reasoning to seek help.  The doctor can help to create a plan to get the family member help for depression.  And it’s important to realize that depression attacks both adults and children.  Unless someone takes action, everybody loses.

So, taking all of this information into account, just what are the benefits of a Season of Depression?  Depression teaches us what doesn’t work.   

And, hopefully, the answer is as simple.  We need to ask ourselves, “What’s missing that allows so many people, including children to get lost in life and decide to end it?”  The answer has to do with taking charge of life.  We need to let our family know that we love them.  Love seems to be a cornerstone for happiness and peace of mind.  

When we feel unloved or incompetent, we feel hurt in ways that others may not even be aware of.  In this world we can let things happen or we can make things happen.  

If we just let them happen, confidence doesn’t get developed very well.  If we lovingly make things happen, that would show that we care about the future; that we’re taking time to encourage personal development in a loving manner; and that no one is over-looked or unimportant. There would be no question about whether they’re loved, and there would no question about uncertainty.  Everyone is important.  There’s an equation that sums it up and it applies to adults and children alike.                                            Commitment and Contribution Conquer Confusion.  

In other words, when we make a loving commitment to the happiness of our family, things change.  When we commit to the well-being of the family as a whole, and each child and adult knows they’re loved individually, and that they have worth and a future, things happen.  And finally, make no little plans, dare mighty things, create a roadmap for life, and make a difference to someone.  This is the season of hope.  This is the season of restoration. 

John Waterbury is a retired Clinical Mental Health Counselor who has lived in Utah since 1984 when he moved to Bountiful with his wife and four children. Since then, he has written a weekly column for several years for the Davis County Clipper titled “The Dear John Letters” which was also used throughout the intermountain West focusing on addiction and mental health problems. This new column will focus on mental health and life management issues.