An Informative Guide to Mental Illness Awareness Week: Day Four National Depression Screening Day
It is Mental Illness Awareness Week from October 2, 2022 – October 8, 2022. I am posting a series going along with NAMI ( National Alliance on Mental Illness ), One of my favorite sites for all information on mental illness.
Please remember, as I state in every post about mental health, I am not a Therapist, Doctor, or Psychiatrist. I am a person who lives daily with mental illness, so I feel confident in passing on what works for me and what I have learned myself about mental illness. I ALWAYS suggest that you seek medical attention.
The rundown for this week’s posts is going to follow their scheduled day topics which are
- Monday, October 3: Stigma
- Tuesday, October 4: Medication [National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding]
- Wednesday, October 5: Therapy
- TODAY – Thursday, October 6: Disclosing [National Depression Screening Day]
- Friday, October 7: Caregiving
Each day of this week, I will share information from NAMI and my personal real-life experiences with Mental illness. I have found some excellent information on their site and some videos that touch on these subjects.
I want to Promote the NAMI HelpLine.
The NAMI HelpLine is a free, nationwide peer-support service providing information, resource referrals, and support to people living with a mental health condition, their family members and caregivers, mental health providers, and the public.
Anyone can reach the NAMI HelpLine Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET.
Let’s get started on Thursday, October 6: Disclosing [National Depression Screening Day]
As I write about National Depression Screening Day, I have cleared this screen several times. I started out being very clinical and informational. If you are searching for depression screening, I am sure you would want information, right? I want to offer personal information about depression and some facts. I also included all the information you need to test and get help for yourself or someone you love.
I honestly can not think of one point in my life when I did not have depression. If you follow my blog, you will know that I was severely abused as a child and through my teen years. If you are new here, you may be interested in reading my story, Uncover My Account In The Journey Of My Life.
Depression is a common but serious mental illness. In 2020, an estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This is according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
For me, depression looks like a stereotype of an old fashion country and western song about how everything in life has fallen apart, and even your dog left you. Songs by David Allan Coe come to mind.
In all seriousness, It looks like there is no hope left in life. You do not hope you will make it to tomorrow because tomorrow is already damned to be a day in hell. It is the feeling of the emptiest glass that used to have water in it, and you just crawled through the desert to find this empty, drained glass.
You feel worthless. Nothing anyone can say or do will change how low you feel. Your family may try to cheer you up, but your worthlessness clouds your thinking that it wouldn’t matter if they say you won a gold medal. You would think they were just showing you pity.
It is the guilt you feel that you are ruining the lives of your family with your mental health. Your family tippy-toes around you, so they don’t set off the waterworks or a snappy, irritable tone from you. They try not to upset you. Their lives suffer because you can’t get out of bed, or you are too drugged up by mental health meds and in a fog all the time. Your household chores and needs get neglected. If you are in charge of appointments or ordering supplies, things will get missed.
When my depression is dire, I stop doing anything that brings me joy. No crochet, even no music. I find no enjoyment in anything at all. I know this will sound so wrong, but it is the truth. I can’t even find happiness in knowing my family loves me or even that God loves me. It is really that bad.
No sleep schedule
I have always had a problem with my sleep schedule, but when depression is full-on, it is either all or nothing in the sleep pattern. I have slept entire days and stayed up for over 24 hours at a time. Depression doesn’t just pick sleep or awake. It bounces you back and forth and makes your hopelessness even worse.
What Depression Might Look Like to You
These points are from Mental Health America.
Depression goes way beyond just feeling sad. Some of the symptoms that people with depression experience include:
- Feeling or appearing low, empty inside, or irritable most of the day every day
- Losing interest in activities, you would normally enjoy
- Changes in appetite or weight—eating more or less; gaining or losing weight
- Changes in sleep—either not being able to sleep or sleeping too much
- Changes in activity—feeling restless inside or feeling sluggish
- Feeling exhausted even when you seem to be getting enough sleep
- Speaking or moving slowly, fidgeting, or pacing
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
I don’t want to sound like a drama queen here. That is not what this is about. I want you to know if you feel any of these things, get screened and talk to your doctors right away. Depression leads to other mental issues.
There is a questionnaire that your primary care doctor can give you to see if you have depression. You can see your family doctor, who can do the screening and then refer you to a mental health team.
Please, I am asking from love and care. If you have any thoughts that you may be suffering from depression, don’t brush them off. It does not go away, and it gets worse.
In all illnesses, you want early detection. It is the same with depression. The sooner you get to your doctor, the better. It might be a short battle, but it can definitely turn into a long one if left untreated.
I took the test myself to see what it looked like. It is straightforward. after the questions, it gives you a summary and an idea of where you stand. It is NOT a replacement for seeing a doctor.
How to Find Help
Google is your friend! I searched for “depression screenings near me,” and a ton of local information is there.
You can also look at the Nation site, SAMHSA Substance abuse, and mental health services administration.
They have a helpline. The information is below.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.
For this week, Mental Illness Awareness Week, from October 2, 2022 – October 8, 2022, here is what we have posted so far –
Previous article in this series