On Your Mind

Depression: Not Just “Feeling Sad”

By April Keeland, RN Claire Lempert

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Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and is more likely to afflict women.



Betties, let’s start off with some clarification: Depression and sadness are not the same. Sadness is an emotion, whereas depression is characterized by persistent feelings of low energy, unrest, increased fatigue, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and patterns of self-isolation.

Identifying and distinguishing these feelings and symptoms is critical. Depression is generally believed to be the result of a traumatic life event and/or chronic stressors. Stressors could include the aftermath of a difficult breakup, the death of a family member, or ongoing feelings of loneliness.



When it comes to how depression is displayed pop culture, characters are often poor portrayals, making light of depression’s severity. Betties, depression is NOT a term you should use lightly. For those diagnosed with or suffering from this condition, dramatized jokes are not appreciated and delegitimize their experience.



So what can you do if you are depressed?

The short answer is to consult a professional who specializes in mental health services and management, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. There are also many services and hotlines aimed at guiding you through difficult thoughts and experiences, including the Help Crisis line at 1-800-273-8255.



There are also some medically-approved, routine-change recommendations which may help manage feelings of depression. Some of these tasks may appear daunting or feel too difficult to accomplish at this time, and that’s okay!

  1. Interact with others, try to avoid secluding yourself.
  2. Change your surroundings – go outside, turn off the TV, and unplug from other electronics.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. You might find it easier by eating at a table or sharing a meal with loved ones.
  4. Focus on creating and separating small tasks to tackle over time. Don’t make life-changing decisions in a day.
  5. Share your feelings and experiences. Reach out to a trusted loved one, family member, or friend you can confide in.

Please note, this is not a comprehensive list, and may not be helpful in your personal experiences with depression. As always, the best answer to battling depression is seeking professional help when needed. Mental health services could include therapy, as well and medications, which can aid in the battle against depression.

If you think you are experiencing depressive feelings, we want to help! Betty’s virtual clinic will be launching July 7, where you’ll be able to consult a counselor or other mental health to help. Our goal is to provide resources to help guide young Betties through their mental, physical, and emotional transition into adulthood.


Join the conversation

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