I have noted in all my bio’s on social media that I have MDD (major depressive disorder). Many people have reached out to me asking me what MDD stands for and what exactly it is.
Let me first explain to you what MDD is.
Major depressive disorder: It impacts mood and behavior as well as various physical functions, such as appetite and sleep. People with MDD often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have trouble performing everyday activities. Occasionally, they may also feel as if life isn’t worth living.
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day (called anhedonia, this symptom can be indicated by reports from significant others)
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- Significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight I n a month)
So it’s just depression right?
Do you even know how many times I’ve been asked that?
It’s not just depression. I can’t “snap out of it”. It’s not something that “will go away”. It’s not “situational”. It at times does get really complex to deal with.
Many people have the misconception that depression is all the same. That you can just get over it by thinking positive, eliminating the issues that may be causing it or just not stressing.
Not the case..
Let me explain a bit to you about how major depression affects me on a day to day basis..
- I have a hard time getting out of bed, I want to sleep constantly
- I have a hard time most days functioning at work
- It doesn’t take much to bring me down
- I take things to heart easily
- I feel like a waste of space a lot of the time
- I feel constantly judged
- I over think everything-which causes anxiety attacks for me
- I get intermittent suicidal thoughts
- I get tired so easily
- I have little motivation to do things (ie: get things done around the house)
- I can’t focus well after awhile on tasks
- Rapid mood changes (happy to sad, sad to happy)
- Constantly feeling like I’m a let down
- Crying spells
Those are just a few examples of things I’ve experienced.
Yes, I am getting help for it. Before anyone asks. Yes, I stopped medications. However, I do take PRN hydroxyzine when I need it. I’m working on myself. I’ve let myself go for a long time with it and just didn’t care. I have reasons to care now. I won’t of course ever be “cured” but I will be able to manage this long term.
Now the last thing. How can you help someone with MDD? (This goes for any mental illness honestly)
- Don’t judge
- Don’t tell them to “cheer up” or “snap out of it”
- Listen when they’re talking to you- this means they trust you
- Don’t joke around when they’re discussing the illness with you
- Don’t give suggestions, ask open ended questions like, “do you know what next steps you want to take?” Or “is there anything I can do to help?”
- Be supportive
- Offer hope in whatever form that the other person can accept it in
- Don’t call them lazy
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions
- Don’t ignore signs of suicide/suicidal statements
- Remember, you’re not a professional with this, don’t act like one. It’ll make things worse
You don’t have to be an expert to help someone. Just be a listening ear and show you care. It helps more than you know.