Do you have days where nothing can make you happy? You are not alone. I ignored my depressive thoughts about life for years. Unfortunately I didn't do anything to fix my situation until they became so dehabilitating that I had no choice.
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. In a given year, an estimated 22.1% of Americans aged 18 and older (about 1 in 5 adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. According to the 1998 United States Census population estimate, this figure translates to 44.3 million people! In addition, 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability in the U.S. and other developed countries are mental disorders, with major depression being the leading cause of disability.
It is estimated that depression alone will occur in approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the United States population aged 18 or above. If you are a woman, you are twice as likely than a man (12% vs. 6.6%) to be affected by depression each year.
My symptoms of depression started with an occasional case of the blahs. I was able to cope with them for a long time. I thought that since this happens to a lot of people, that it would pass and I didn't need to worry. I didn't think about finding out why it was happening. Besides, after a few drinks I always felt much better. I later learned that depressive disorders commonly occur with substance abuse...
So what is the cause of all of this sadness in our society? Speaking from experience, I wasn't happy with my life and the direction it was taking me. I would look back at a past week and not be able to recall one thing that I enjoyed. It was a blur. Nor would I look forward to the coming weeks ahead. All I saw were potential stresses that were going to present themselves. But I didn't do anything about it. I accepted that this was life. Looking back I don't know how I could have ever believed this.
When we are suffering from depression, it seems that we lose our objectivity. Does thinking that we have nothing to look forward to sound rational to you? Where did my enjoyment in life disappear to? It was my perception of the world that had slowly changed and I was unable to see it because of the control that my depression had over me.
In the fast pace of today's world we often don't allow ourselves time to evaluate our lives and set goals to realize our ambitions. Whether you do or do not have depression, you're reading this article because you think something might be wrong with your life. Have you tried to identify the things you are unhappy with? The first step for me was to educate myself and find out what it was that I was dealing with. I started reading books. I consulted a psychologist to get some unbiased insight about myself.
Otherwise, how do we find solutions for problems that we don't yet understand? So let's get started.
What's stopping you?
By David Smith
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