Imagine the darkest of nights. Total blackness. No moon shining, no stars twinkling.
Accompanying the blackest of nights is a feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness. You can summon no energy, no ability to fight it, sinking further and further into its abyss.
That’s depression at its worst. In any given year, 6.7 percent of all American adults are diagnosed with a major depressive disorder.
According to Linnette Murphy, a Generations/ Gaither’s Group case manager, mental illness affects us all, with 1-of-4 people dealing with it. And mental illness affects people across all spectrums of life, regardless of social class, education, gender, income or age.
“Major depression is basically a chemical imbalance that can be genetic or the result of environmental stresses,” Murphy explained. Its treatments include psychotropic medicine, therapy, changes in environment to avoid stressors, and activities.
“In conjunction with therapy and meds, activities are essential for the growth of the individual,” Murphy noted. “It promotes motivation, positive self-esteem, which is important for those with depression, empowerment and a decrease in self-isolation. Progress for one may mean being able to get up out of bed and tie their shoes.”
While most people don’t think about it, physical ailments can also bring episodes of depression, which, if left untreated, can escalate into a major depressive disorder. These include thyroid problems, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, just to mention a few.
“One major thing we all need to be aware of is the signs of depression in teenagers,” Murphy said. “If you see any of these symptoms in your teen, you need to be concerned and get help.”
Those signs include withdrawal from their group of friends, increasing isolation, change in activities, poor eye contact, not worrying about their appearance when they previously did, irritability, mood swings, not eating, staying up all night or sleeping all of the time, and grades dropping.
“Unfortunately, especially with teens, those with depressive disorders far too often see suicide as a permanent solution to what is really a temporary problem,” Murphy lamented.
Those interested in helping bring more activities to service recipients in Generation group homes, including the eight in Warren County, will have an opportunity to do so this Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kidd Ford where a “Quality of Life” radio telethon will be held.
In addition to taking pledges for a tax-deductible, 501(c)3 activities fund, Generations will also be accepting donation of items such as board games, outside and inside games, and other entertainment-based items.
Courtesy of three bands, there will be entertainment throughout the telethon and everyone is invited to attend. In addition, any civic organization wishing to help man the phones during the telethon will get to talk about their organizations on WCPI live radio that day, according to Jim Ramsey, vice president of resource development and communications.
Depression difficult to overcome