IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST
“We thought the sky, the sky would never fall.” – Michael Franks (b. 1944), U.S. singer/songwriter “Mr. Blue” The Art of Tea (1975)
If you’re an 80s (or late 70s) person, you’ve heard the songs of Michael Franks. He was in Manila in 1981 and I watched him live sing “Popsicle Toes,” “Eggplant,” and of course, “Mr. Blue.” Obviously, it’s a sad tune – about the thoughts and feelings after a break-up. But what interests me is the line that divides sadness and depression. The ongoing pandemic has triggered depression even in the mentally toughest among us. Let’s see if you’re depressed.
Are you Depressed? There are many free on-line self-tests for depression. The popular Psychology Todayhas a detailed one and you can follow this link. But remember this is not a substitute for seeing a professional. (http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=1308). In major depression, the person is affected to an extent that his work and private life are all but impaired. Duration is critical because normal dejection lasts for a few days before the person somehow snaps out of it. In real depression, the condition carries on for more than two weeks. A man or woman suffering from clinical depression must exhibit five out of the following nine symptoms, including one of the first two listed:
- Depressed mood.
- Loss of interest and pleasure in usual daily activities.
- Loss of appetite and weight changes (loss or gain).
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (too little or too much sleep).
- Restlessness or sluggishness.
- Profound fatigue.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Inability to think clearly, make decisions, or complete tasks.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Other Triggers. The following have been identified as factors that may lead to depression:
- Family history of depression.
- Grief over the loss of loved one in death or separation.
- Interpersonal disputes.
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.
- Major events in life such as retirement, graduation, emigration, etc.
- Serious illness – major, chronic, terminal.
- Substance abuse – 30% of substance abusers are also depressed.
- Social isolation – from family, friends, or groups.
You can log on to the Cleveland Clinic webpage(http://www.cchs.net) for more information.
If you think that you are depressed, it’s not enough to hang out with friends and get advice on how to beat it. See a doctor or a clinical psychologist. The pandemic rages – maybe the worst time to be Mr. or Ms. Blue. But awareness is the first step to cure.
Dr. Pujalte is an orthopedic surgeon. email [email protected]