Have you ever thought to yourself, “I have crippling depression.” Or maybe wondered, “Do I have crippling depression?” Maybe you experience feelings of sadness, or loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy. You may wonder the severity of your struggles with depression. “Do I have crippling depression or is this normal?” If you’re looking for some answers about the ins and outs of depression, read on. Let’s go through what depression is, treatment options and outlook for people with depression.
What is depression?
In the United States alone, it’s estimated that nearly 7% of people struggle with depression. Depression is a widespread illness, that does not discriminate. Due to its prevalence, it’s important to stay informed about the symptoms of depression. You never know when you or a loved one may begin experiencing symptoms of depression. But what exactly is it?
The clinical term for depression is Major Depressive Disorder. Major depressive disorder is a serious mental illness. It causes a person to think, feel and act differently than they normally would. People with depression often feel sad. They lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and usually struggle performing day-to-day activities. Some individuals with depression may even feel that life isn’t worth living.
There are a few important things to remember when asking yourself, “Do I have crippling depression? One is that depression isn’t just a case of the “blues.” Depression is a serious mood disorder. People with depression can’t will themselves into feeling better. There are biological changes in the brain and getting better is not just a matter of will-power.
So, when asking yourself, “Do I have crippling depression?” Be honest with yourself about your feelings. If you are unable to shake your feelings of sadness and aren’t able to enjoy tasks you used to, you may have depression. Coming to terms with this fact is the first step to take towards healing. Remember, although depression is a serious disorder, it’s common and treatable. There is help out there, and there is always hope.
How do depressions start?
If you have depression, it’s critical that you understand it’s not your fault. You are not weak. You’ve done nothing wrong. Depression is an illness, just like cancer or any other disorder. It’s more difficult to understand because you can’t physically see the depression, but it’s still there. And millions of people suffer from it each year.
So, how does depression start? What causes it? You may be desperate for answers and asking yourself, “Why do I have crippling depression?” Unfortunately, we don’t know an exact cause of depression. But we do know some things that put you at an increased risk for it.
- Genetic factors. Depression often runs in families. If you have family members with depression you are more likely to get it as well. Researchers don’t know the exact gene that causes depression, but are working on prototyping it at this time. But having relatives with depression doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. Other factors in combination with genetics often cause depression.
- Hormones. Changes in the body during pregnancy, menopause, thyroid issues or other hormonal imbalances may cause depression.
- Illnesses. Experiencing a difficult illness, especially a chronic illness, may cause depression. This is due to the challenging nature of managing an illness.
- Drug and alcohol use. Individuals who use drugs and alcohol regularly are more likely to develop depression.
- Personality traits. Personality may also play a role in developing depression. Individuals who are generally pessimistic, easily overwhelmed or are often self-critical are more likely to experience depression.
- Brain changes. Research is still needed on this subject. But we know that physical changes in the brain can cause depression.
- Trauma. Experiencing traumatic events, especially over a long period of time, puts one at a higher risk for depression.
What are the types of depression?
According to Healthline, there are nine types of depression. Let’s go through them.
- Major Depressive Disorder. This is classic depression. People with this illness experience symptoms most of the day, every day. This illness does not change based on the environment. People with this illness may experience one episode, or many throughout their lives.
- Persistent Depression. Persistent depression is depression that usually lasts two years or more. Symptoms are often less severe than Major Depressive Disorder but still make daily tasks difficult.
- Bipolar Depression. Bipolar depression occurs after an episode of mania, in a person with Bipolar disorder. After being on a “high” a person with bipolar disorder will experience a “low” that often includes depression.
- Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features. This occurs when a person with Major Depressive Disorder loses touch with reality. Some people with this type of depression may experience hallucinations and delusions as well.
- Perinatal Depression. This type of depression occurs during pregnancy or up to a month after child birth. It’s caused by hormonal changes associated with pregnancy.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This depression occurs before a woman’s menstrual cycle and is thought to be due to hormone changes. It can be very severe and include suicidal thoughts.
- Seasonal Depression. Major Depressive Disorder with a seasonal pattern. For most people, it begins in the fall and worsens in winter. Most people feel better during spring, when the sun is out more often.
- Situational depression. Depression brought on by events. Looks like major depressive disorder, but has a specific cause.
- Atypical Depression. Atypical depression occurs when a person with major depressive disorder experiences episodes where the depression temporarily goes away. This is usually due to positive events. Eventually though, depression symptoms return.
Do I have crippling depression? Why is it called crippling depression?
Now you know all the types of depression, but you may still be wondering, “Do I have crippling depression?” Many people refer to their diagnosis as crippling depression. This phrase though, it not an official diagnosis. In fact, it’s more of a descriptive term used by those suffering with Major Depressive Disorder.
People with this disorder experience significant difficulties in performing every day tasks. Because of this struggle, many sufferers refer to their depression as “crippling.” They are describing the symptoms of their diagnosis. However, crippling depression is just another way of describing Major Depressive Disorder.”
You may wonder, is it wrong to say, “I have crippling depression?” Not at all. You can describe your illness in whatever way you feel appropriate. If depression is crippling you, it’s totally appropriate to describe it that way. This descriptive phrase may help your friends and family members understand what you’re going through. It can help explain the symptoms you experience, even though other are unable to “see” the illness.
I have crippling depression. How is it diagnosed?
Usually when someone has a health problem, they can go to a doctor and get a test. An X-Ray, MRI or other test can diagnose the issue, and treatment can ensue. Unfortunately, we can’t “see” depression on a physical test. Diagnosis occurs after an extensive interview with a trained mental health provider.
If you think you have depression and are looking to get a diagnosis and begin treatment, you will have to speak to a mental health provider. This person should be a social worker, counselor or psychiatrist. When you speak to them, they will likely as you many questions about your symptoms. They will likely ask if you experience any of the following:
- Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in things that were once enjoyable
- Major changes in weight or appetite
- Insomnia (trouble sleeping) or excessive sleep almost daily
- Physical or psychological changes notice by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost daily
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt or worthlessness almost every day
- Problems with concentration almost every day
- Problems making decisions almost every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt
Additionally, they will likely cover your family history, duration of symptoms and when the symptoms started. All of the symptoms you’re experiencing, in addition to other things you share with the provider, will help them make a diagnosis.
It’s important to be open and honest with your provider about your symptoms. Some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed. But it’s necessary to relay all symptoms so that your provider can make an accurate diagnosis and lead you to the best treatment possible.
Is depression a disability? How much money can I get?
If your depression is debilitating to the point that you’re unable to work, you may wonder if you’re eligible for disability compensation. The answer is, yes, but it’s difficult. You must be able to “prove” your disability through medical and personal information you provide. Additionally, disability benefits are usually a relatively small amount. To understand how much money you’d receive, it’s important to understand the Social Security Administration’s programs.
Currently, two programs offered by the Social Security Administration exist to provide financial stability to those with disabilities. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
SSDI provides benefits to you if you have worked enough years to be “insured” by the Social Security Administration. A person who worked full time for about ten years is typically enough. The amount of money you receive is based on how much you’ve paid into social security, so it varies. The other program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSI is a needs-based program. It covers those with a disability who have not worked enough to be “insured.” Eligibility for the program is based on your financial needs and disability. Currently, SSI benefits are $783 a month, but vary slightly depending on location within the United States. Both programs require that you receive eligibility through the Social Security Administration, after review by Disability Determination Services.
After an application is submitted and accepted by the Social Security Administration, they forward the case to Disability Determination Services. A case worker is assigned, and he/she works the case to completion. It’s the job of this case worker to obtain and review all the pertinent medical, social and personal information about the applicant before making a determination. If disability is approved, the case is transferred back to the Social Security Administration and benefits will be issued to the applicant.
What are treatment options if I have crippling depression?
The good news is although depression is a relatively severe illness, treatment is available. Treatment for depression is typically implemented through talk therapy, medication management or a combination of the two. If you’re unsure where to start, therapy is always a good option.
If you find it difficult to leave home, the good news is that online therapy is an option. Because a therapist simply needs to speak with you to treat you, online therapy is a totally viable option in treating depression. You can meet with a therapist from the comfort of your own home, on your schedule. And then, they can help guide you in taking the next steps in healing your depression.
What is the outlook for depression?
The great news is, outlook for major depressive disorder is good. Most people who seek and receive treatment get better. But treatment is necessary. If left untreated, Major Depressive Disorder can lead to a myriad of other problems. Due to the inability to function, untreated depression can lead to financial issues, interpersonal issues, health issues and even suicide.
If you think you are suffering from depression, get help today. There’s no need to suffer any longer and with treatment, you can get better. Remember, there’s no shame in depression and it’s not your fault. Depression is an illness that does not discriminate, and millions of people suffer with it each year. So, don’t suffer in silence and reach out today.