THE persistent feeling of wretchedness, despondency, and loss of interest in regular activities are indubitably alarming signs of depressive mood and unusual behavioral pattern that are unquestionably signs of depression. “Major Depressive Disorder” or “Major Depression” is
characterized by a combination of both symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities.
Depression is oftentimes referred to as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” It is in part an illness with biological basis that often times results to suicide, the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15 to 44.
Many lives had been cut short not only among those in the lower bracket of society but especially in the upper echelon where high profile suicides are common. Statistics show that 12.5 million people had committed suicide out of a variety of reasons.
In a recently concluded study observing human behavior, it was advised that concerned friends or family members should pay attention to people who are quiet and loners and never verbalize what they feel or what’s going on their minds. One could directly ask: “Are you considering committing suicide?” And that could be an effective wake-up call for them to realize their awareness about depression.
Suicide doesn’t happen abruptly. Those attempting suicide have already some sort of pre-meditated plans. But those verbalizing openly
oftentimes are the ones scared to commit it. Mostly women are the usual victims of suicidal attempts. A potential suicidal individual is not verbal or will not openly discuss his plans but those that openly express what they plan to do are far from actually doing it.
But psychologists say: “Death should not be an outcome of mental illness or psychological predicaments.”
Depression can be normal and is only an indicator of underlying disease when feelings become excessive, all consuming, and interfere with daily routine. One of the main causes of depression is stress which is the pressure or tension that results from a demanding situation. Stress can be physical, emotional, psychological, or a combination of all these. Being free from stress is far from possibility since living and its complicated surroundings inevitably contribute to having one.
Types of Depression
Depression, just like any emotion, is characterized by different levels according to the intensity and strength of its attack and effect on the victim. Depression can be classified as follows:
1. Clinical Depression – a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities causing significant impairment in daily life.
Symptoms may include excessive sadness and crying with poor appetite.
2. Persistent Depressive Disorder – (PDD) a mild but long term form of depression that could last for at least 2 years. Symptoms include low self-esteem and undecisiveness.
3. Seasonal Affective Disorder – (SAD) a mood disorder characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. Symptoms include appetite change and loss of interest in regular activities.
4. Post Partum Depression – a kind of depression that usually occurs after childbirth. Symptoms are: repeatedly going over thoughts, hopelessness, feeling insecure and unattractive due to the undesirable physical changes following giving birth.
5. Bipolar Disorders – a different form of depression characterized by extremely low moods and sometimes high or euphoric and irritable moods called “mania” or “manic.”
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says that even the most severe cases of depression can be treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. But if these two treatments don’t work at all, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) or brain stimulation therapy may be an option.
Other practical activities could be optional measures to remedy depression:
a) Be active and do physical activities or indulge in sports
b) Set realistic goals for yourself
c) Spend time with people you trust
d) Don’t be alone or isolate yourself
e) Postpone significant decisions such as getting married, getting a divorce, changing jobs,
repairing or building a house, etc.
f) Continue to educate yourself about depression.
Celebrity deaths due to depression
Deaths due to depression are common occurrences but sadly only those in the limelight are the ones highlighted while ordinary victims remain unheard of. Celebrity deaths due to depression have been currently hitting the headlines following the deaths of popular fashion designer Kate Spade (55) who ended her own life by hanging and celebrity chef and roving TV food connoisseur Anthony Bourdain (61).
Their untimely deaths motivated other celebrities to share their own personal battles with depression while simultaneously recalling big named stars who ended their own lives due to unbearable depressive moods.
Here are few of famous celebrities and international figures that hogged the headlines not because of their spectacular accomplishments but due to their unforeseen and startling demise that left their followers and fans in a state of shock:
1. Ambrose Olsen (24) in-demand celebrity endorser of Armani, Burberry, Lois Vuitton, YSL, and Hugo Boss died by hanging
2. Chris Benoit (40) WWE superstar who hung himself after murdering his wife and strangled to death his 7-year-old son.
3. Ernest Hemingway (62) an American journalist and poet who shot himself to death, the same way his father did
4. George Reeves (45) American actor and popular TV Superman who died of gunshot wounds.
5. Margaux Hemingway (42) a granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and Hollywood actress who died of barbiturate overdose.
6. Marilyn Monroe (36) Hollywood’s top sex symbol who perished from pills overdose.
7. Robin Williams (63) ace comedian and serious actor took his own life by hanging following issues on depression, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
8. Kurt Cobain (27) took a gun and put an end to his life after battling depression and drug addiction
9. Jonathan Brandis (27) star of “Never Ending Story II” committed suicide by hanging
10. Sawyer Sweeten (19) famous for his role as Geoffrey Barone (son to Ray Romano of “Everybody Loves Raymond”) put a gunshot to his head after battling financial problems.
11. Alexander McQueen (40) the famous fashion designer took deadly cocktails of sleeping pills and cocaine then hung himself following an extreme depression after the death of his mother.
12. Vince Van Gogh (37) An exponent of Impressionism style who suffered from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and depression and put an end to all these with a gunshot.
13. Sylvia Plath (30) Dynamic and most admired poet of the 19th century who committed suicide by placing her head in a gas oven.
14. Virginia Woolf (59) Popular novelist and author who drowned herself in a river with pockets full of stones after suffering from severe anxiety and mental health illness.
15. Tony Scott (68) The director of top grosser hits “Top Gun” and “True Romance” jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge into the Los Angeles Harbor after losing his battle with cancer.
16. James Whale (67) The founder of Frankenstein having acted and directed the very first Frankenstein movie drowned himself in his swimming pool after a series of strokes and severe pains.
Having anxiety and depression is likely being scared and tired at the same time. It’s the fear of failure but no urge to be productive. It’s wanting for friends but not to actually socialize. What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside but the inside. When you’re depressed you don’t control your thoughts but it controls you.
Just as someone who suffered from depression evidently puts it: “My moods don’t just swing… they bounce, pivot, recoil, rebound, oscillate, fluctuate, and occasionally, pirouette.”
That’s exactly how depression affects an individual. People think depression is sadness, that depression is crying or dressing up in black. They just don’t know that depression is the constant feeling of being numb, numb of emotions, being numb to life. It’s like a bruise that never goes away, a bruise that’s so tender and swollen that keeps you in constant pain.
Depression exists without you knowing it. You don’t even know you’re in it…and it takes a while before you realize you are already a victim.
Be stress-free. Stay away from being down in the dumps and downhearted. When depression attacks and the aggressive effect is too much to bear, waste no time and seek help. Death isn’t the ultimate solution to any depressing problem.
Come to think of this: even a padlock was manufactured with a matching key (and oftentimes with 1 or 2 spares) to unlock it and so are our predicaments. Always remember that there is a perfect solution to every problem and there’s always an opportunity for us to be optimistic, for every door that closes behind awaits a breathing space for us to recover and rebuild.
Photo credit: Thanks to promising model Jordan Baker for posing and internalizing various ranges of depressive moods.
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