The World Health Organization has determined that Depression is the world’s biggest health epidemic, the leading cause of disability worldwide—more than cancer, AIDS, heart disease and accidents. According the WHO, more than 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. So, if you’re depressed sometimes, once in a while or pretty frequently, you’re not alone. You have a lot of company.
Types of Depression include seasonal affective disorder (“winter blues”), postpartum depression (“baby blues”) and can be mild to severe, go into remission and recur again and again over weeks, months or years. Related disorders include anxiety (which can range from general uneasiness to full-blown panic attacks) and bipolar disorder and the like. Women are more likely to be depressed than men and while, recently, the numbers of Black women with these disorders have skyrocketed, Black women are less likely to receive adequate treatment than their white counterparts.
Depression is more likely to occur if you have a family history of depression or if you have experienced trauma in your life, especially in your childhood. Depression, if left untreated, can result in feelings of suicide and actual suicide. Symptoms of depression include sleeping too little or not enough, feelings of doom, worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness, irritability, frustration, anger and more, an inability to concentrate, an inability to find joy in activities that used to bring you pleasure, weight changes due to changes in eating patterns, unexplained aches and pains, reckless behavior or loss of energy, among other symptoms.
If you believe you are depressed or suffering from anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder (whose symptoms can be similar), then the best thing you can do for yourself and for your children is to seek help from a mental health professional or see your doctor, who can refer you to a mental health professional.
Don’t look at it as something to be ashamed of or to ignore. And, please, don’t think that new partner who is not your ex is going to be the solution for your increased sense of well-being. Finding a soul mate does not fix you.