Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 4th 2015 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Major depression is a
serious but treatable ill-
ness. MDD, as the disor-
der is called, is also
known as clinical
depression and is differ-
entiated from other
forms of depression by
One definition says,
"Clinical depression is the
more severe form
of depression, also known
as major depression or
major depressive disorder.
It isn t the same
as depression caused by
a loss, such as the death
of a loved one, or a medical condition,
such as a thyroid disorder."
The Mayo Clinic says, "Depression
is a mood disorder that causes a per-
sistent feeling of sadness and loss of
interest...it affects how you feel, think
and behave and can lead to a variety
of emotional and physical problems."
With clinical depression, there is
great difficulty to keep up with your
normal day-to-day activities. Simple
chores like doing dishes become mon-
umental tasks, starting with the lack
of energy sometimes just to wash that
first glass. Soon enough, there s a pile
of dishes that you d probably not be
able to explain, if asked.
Amazingly, I ve found as depression
lifts there s such a concern for the mess
made and a prompt rectifying of the
untidiness that only recently had no
impact on you.
For the clinically depressed, one of
the worst experience at times is feeling
like life is not worth living. The will to
live becomes a sombre monologue and
it s at this juncture intervention is cru-
cial. Some have not been able to recover
from the despair and unfortunately, on
(too many) occasions suicide trumps
Clinical depression, according to
pscyhcentral.com, is characterised by
the presence of the majority of these
• Depressed mood most of the day,
nearly every day, as indicated by either
the individual (eg, feeling sad or empty)
or observation made by others (eg,
appears tearful). In children and ado-
lescents, this may be characterised as
an irritable mood.
• Markedly diminished interest or
pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
most of the day, nearly every day.
• Significant weight loss when not
dieting or weight gain (eg, a change of
more than five per cent of body weight
in a month), or decrease or increase in
appetite nearly daily.
• Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly
• Psychomotor agitation or retarda-
tion nearly every day.
• Fatigue or loss of energy almost
• Feelings of worthlessness or exces-
sive or inappropriate guilt almost daily.
• Diminished ability to think or con-
centrate, or indecisiveness,
• Recurrent thoughts of
death (not just fear of
dying), recurrent suicidal
ideation without a specific
plan, or a suicide attempt
or a specific plan for com-
A major depressive
episode, the site says, is
not a disorder in itself, but
rather is a description of
part of a disorder, most
often major depressive
disorder or bipolar disor-
A person who suffers
from a major depressive episode must
either have a depressed mood or a loss
of interest or pleasure in daily activities
consistently for at least a two-week
period. This mood must be different
from normal mood; social, occupa-
tional, or other important functioning
must also be negatively impaired by
the mood change.
A major depressive episode is also
characterised by the presence of five
or more of these symptoms listed for
clinical depression above.
More than just a bout of the blues,
depression isn t a weakness, says the
experts. It s a disease that can be treat-
ed---an illness which requires interven-
tion. Most people would first present
these symptoms to their family doctor
or general practitioner who may or may
not encourage you to seek further help.
As an individual, client/patient, it s in
your interest to always explore the pos-
sibilities for more specialised treatment.
I listened to my intuition and sought
help when, having lived relatively well
for a number of years, suddenly almost
all of the symptoms were presenting
in my life. And that has happened more
than once in my lifetime, so far.
I searched websites and self-admin-
istered measurement tests. I read vora-
ciously everything available. And having
been prescribed Zoloft, I took to the
iIternet to read everything published---
good bad or indifferent about the drug.
I searched the manufacturer s website,
Googled personal testimonies, and lis-
tened to Oprah where women were
speaking about adverse effects of the
I quickly learned that I needed help
(medication) and that I also had to have
talk therapy, and thankfully, then I could
afford both. People around me were
taught to understand that I could not
simply "snap out of it" despite their
best efforts to cheer me up.
My diagnosis required long-term
intervention and despite the despair I
experience so often in a week, month,
of year, I remain steadfast about pre-
serving my life and valuing the gift that
life itself is.
With medication, therapy or both,
you can live very successfully, main-
taining balance even with a clinical
depression diagnosis. I encourage you
to seek and embrace the help you need.
a sign of weakness
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
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