Depression in Women
Here are the facts about depression in women. In the U.S. about 15 million people experience depression each year. The majority of them are women. Unfortunately, nearly two-thirds of those women do not get the help they need.
Depression in women is very common. In fact, women are twice as likely to develop clinical depression as men. And as many as one out of every four women is likely to experience an episode of major depression at some point in life.
What is depression?
Depression is a serious and pervasive mood disorder. It causes feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. Depression can be mild to moderate with symptoms of apathy, little appetite, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, and low-grade fatigue. Or it can be major depression with symptoms of depressed mood most of the day, diminished interest in daily activities, weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia (oversleeping), fatigue, feelings of guilt almost daily, and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
(The information from webmd is in blue and my responses are below in gray.)
What are the symptoms of depression in women?
Symptoms of depression in women include:
- persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- The anxiety was the worst. I felt like throwing up most of the time and had a very hard time going out in public. Going to the grocery store was even a chore and once there it was all I could do to get the groceries bought and get home away from people. I would even avoid anyone I knew so I didn't have to talk to them or even see them. I would pick a different aisle and hope I didn't run into them. When at home I could sit in bed with the TV on and not have a clue what was on or even what time it was...
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- I stopped knitting, the camera stayed in the bag I had no interest in doing anything and had to force myself to do everyday things like laundry and housework. Thankfully Hubby stepped up to the plate and took over all the meals. As for the loss of interest in sex.....
- restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- I didn't so a whole lot of crying this time around. Although anytime I heard "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus I broke into tears. The first time this happened we were on our way to my grandfather's funeral and the song triggered something in me. It still does and will a female child and her friends here all the time, that song gets heard every now and then. I am getting better now though! I wasn't so much restless and I was resting. No energy at all. The irritability was worse at work and if anyone at work called me on it I just sat and cried...
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
- I had very few episodes of the above this time. I think my child helped to keep me grounded.
- sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening
- I am the dictionary example of sleeping in. I think the snooze button was invented just for me. I will keep pushing that button until the last possible minute to avoid getting out of bed. When I started getting up and hour or more before the alarm was set to go off and being ready to get out of bed I knew there had to be something wrong. When I was the first one up every morning when I am usually the last one up, even hubby wondered was what going on. I thrive on sleep and the more I can get the happier I am. 4 or 5 hours was treating me just fine....then I crashed and it was all I could do to get out of bed. I would fight the alarm in the morning, go to work for 3 or 4 hours and then sleep the entire afternoon and be in bed and asleep by 10 again that night. It was a crazy roller coaster..
- appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- I hadn't realized how much weight I lost until people started commenting. I had dropped 20 pounds and had no idea. It wasn't until it was brought to my attention that I then realized that all my pants were too big. Now there are days when I eat normal, not at all or totally gorge myself. My weight has fluctuated a few pounds here and there, but has remained steady.
- decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
- See above!
- thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Thankfully I haven't had any suicide thoughts since I was first diagnosed 20 some years ago. That was a very scary time and something I don't ever want to have to deal with again. I never attempted suicide, but had pills and blades stashed away and had notes written. Most people don't know that, but thanks to my mom and a good doctor I was diagnosed and started treatment.
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- I missed appointments, forgot deadlines at work, forgot about weekly activities that my child had been doing faithfully for ages. I would realize too late that it was supposed to be the night at the arena or what the theme for the week was...It was so hard to explain to my child that mommy forgot. She was a little angry with me more than once.
- persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
- Hmmm...headaches were and still are a problem. Thankfully I don't suffer migraines anymore. That was about the only problem I had in this area.
I think my next post will be how my family was and is affected by this...and how hard it is to hide it from a child.