Sometimes major depressive disorder can be misunderstood as being the same as the emotion of depression. There is a difference between the normal emotion of depression, and being diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The emotion of depression is a common response to a loss, failure, or disappointment. The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is a serious emotional & biological disease that affects a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. The criteria that professionals use to diagnose this are as follows:
- Depressed mood.
- Reduced interest in activities.
- Changes in appetite.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Feeling agitated or slowed down.
- Feeling worthless or excessive guilt.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
- Suicidal thoughts or intention.
People who have a mental illness are not crazy, they just have an illness. It is no different than someone who has diabetes...it is a disease that has to be managed and coped with for life. It shouldn't be something to be embarrassed about, yet many people hide their condition for fear of being judged.
Wanting to die. Suicidal. When people hear this about me, they usually say, "But you have so much to live for! You're so talented, pretty, etc., why would you want to kill yourself?" It's not that simple. It's a symptom of an illness. Not everyone who's depressed has the 'symptom' of suicidal thoughts, but it so happens that I do. We all know of celebrities who've committed suicide...they seem to have it all, yet they see no reason to continue to live.
I not only suffer from major depressive disorder, but also post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety. I got help from my many back-to-back hospitalizations and medication, but still experience symptoms to a lessor degree. Unfortunately for me, my illness has resulted in not being able to work a full-time job so I have alot of time on my hands now.
If you think you may have a mental illness, don't be ashamed of it. There is plenty of help and resources out there so seek it out. These illnesses are treatable and professionals can help make the symptoms less intense by therapy, medication or other combinations of treatment. I've included a list of national resources to get you started.
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
Psychology Today - Find a therapist in your area