I think a key to depression is detection; knowing that you could potentially be in one. That’s the first battle, knowing. Once that’s been determined then you can seek the necessary help and support you need (see below for list of resources). Depression has no boundaries and can happen at any age and/or stage in your life. Here are my thoughts on the stages:
18-29 Let’s be honest being a 20-year old presents more of a mental challenge than it does a physical one. Physically we feel fine, we hike for fun and because we can, we eat whatever we want, and we rarely exercise. In our twenties we are fresh out of school and into college, planning our future, starting and pursuing dream careers, trolling the dating scene…everything is new, fun and exciting UNTIL! Here comes graduation along with all the debt we’ve incurred due to college; we may have failed at a relationship or two, or three; we are not overly comfortable in our skin and truly care about how others see us. For all the reasons above, and a host of others I’m sure, 20-year olds are very much susceptible to depression.
30-49 In this age group we pretty much know what we want to do career wise. Many of us are married, settled in our first real home with the picket fence, a few kids and pets. Many of us are confident and comfortable in our skin. We’ve made lifelong friends and our circles are small; there’s more to life than partying and going to the club. This stage however, is an extremely vulnerable time for depression as well. Some women after giving birth suffer from post-partum which could lead to depression; if there’s ANY weight gain due to having children and the pounds are difficult to shed, depression is almost eminent; becoming a stay at home mom and feeling invaluable because you are no longer contributing financially; relocating; divorce; loss of a loved one; having out of control teenagers; getting kids ready for college; emptiness syndrome all these things could lead to a depression.
50-older I have a few friends that are 50 and older and what they all have in common is they care less and less about what people think; they do as they please; if they are financially well off they are often traveling. What makes them prone to depression are things like having to care for elderly parent(s) or siblings; financial instability; death of a spouse; loneliness; menopause; sickness and disease.
These examples are really the tip of the iceberg of what could potentially trigger depression. The best advice I can give is to be conscious and aware of the changes that you may experience mentally and physically and don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out for help, it may save your life. Also be kinder and a little more patient towards those that may not react in a manner that you would like as it’s quite possible they may be in some stage of depression.
Symptoms of depression may last for 2 weeks or more, occurring nearly every day, and may include:
- A depressed mood most of the day (feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or on the verge of tears) ME
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed ME
- Weight loss (even when not on a diet) or experiencing weight gain. Also note decreases or increases in appetite ME
- Difficulty sleeping or being overly tired ME
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down ME
- Fatigue or a loss of energy ME
- Feeling worthless or guilty ME
- A lack of concentration or difficulty with decision making ME
- Thoughts of death or suicide ME
Resources if you may need help and/or think you are in a depression:
Bring Change 2 Mind.
This national anti-stigma campaign is dedicated to removing misconceptions about mental illness bringchange2mind.org
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)