Spotting Signs of Depression

istock_depression-teenageYour significant other is gone. It’s been a few weeks, even a few months. You’re beginning to settle into your own schedule and routine. You’re thinking everything is fine and that you’re able to handle things. Then one day you wake up feeling drained and emotional. That song you heard on the radio yesterday that made you smile, is now the reason why you’re crying hysterically. You’re going through some photos and you get a lump in your throat knowing that soon there will be waterworks. You just want to wrap yourself up in your blankets and hibernate until they come home. You have begun to lose motivation in most things, and you can’t seem to shake the feeling. Don’t worry ladies and gentlemen. Before you go off and start diagnosing yourself as bipolar, just remember that everyone handles and reacts to deployment differently. It can manifest that same day, or it can take a while to finally hit you.

You’re going to have to learn new coping skills. Your partner in life is gone. There’s nothing you can do to change it. All you can do is just live life as normal as possible. You need to remember that the world doesn’t stop spinning because they sailed off on a boat/ship, or flew off on a plane. Life goes on, whether you’re engaged or not. You’ll still get the same bills, you need to make your house/rent payment monthly, cell phone bills, student loans/tuition, medical bills, etc… As adults, we can’t just hibernate for however many months they’re gone. We have to be the ones to make sure everything back home runs nice and smoothly, and we have to continue on for the sake of ourselves, and children if you have any.

Depression is pretty easy to fall into, and it can be manifested in so many different ways. Changes in mood are a natural, normal part of life. People usually are comfortable with a change in mood. People with depression can’t seem to explain the reason for becoming depressed but they tend to describe it as “emotionally painful.” The major signs to look for are a general loss of interest and energy, and an inability to experience pleasure. A person with depression typically withdraws from social interactions. Apathy toward work, school, relationships, responsibility, and eventually toward important goals have a negative affect on the person.

Depression is such a taboo topic no one really wants to speak about. But please, if you’re feeling this way, don’t hesitate to seek help. It could be as simple as reaching out to a friend, or a family member and just letting them know what’s going on. Too many times I’ve read news articles or seen on the news how people end up committing suicide or homicide because they never sought help for their depression. They may have become so overwhelmed with whatever was going on in their life at the moment that they just snapped.

Learning to recognize these signs can help not only you, but someone else who could be falling into depression. As spouses of military personnel, we’re often left home alone. It’s easy to become isolated because of the constant moving to different duty stations, becoming new parents in a new community, and just being left on your own. I like the fact that when I’m back home, that there are fellow wives out in my community who always try to host events at their homes to get everyone together for just some company. We have to learn to spot these signs of depression early so that we could maybe help prevent something going awry. If you have a close group of friends, try to keep an eye on those who have spouses who have deployed, or gone off to training for a while. People sometimes are afraid to ask for help, or don’t know who to turn to because they don’t know how to handle this change in their mood.

As cliche as this may be, “we’re all in the same boat.” Don’t let the person next to you drown. Don’t let yourself drown. As prideful as we are, it’s not beneath anyone to ask for help. If you feel yourself starting to sink into depression, please don’t hold it inside, reach out to others in your community whom you trust. They may have some resources which can help you deal with whatever it is you’re going through. Remember, changes in mood are normal. It’s when those changes start to negatively affect your every day life, that’s when you should be concerned.

Here are some helpful links below:

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