It’s (Not) All in Your Head

Depression is not visible, like a broken arm. Depression does not garner sympathy and delivered meals like those that gall bladder surgery does. But, depression can cause as big as, if not a bigger, disruption in your life than some of the more visible ailments are.
If depression is not broken leg or a sinus infection, what is it? “Depression is a physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional response to something that is wrong. The million-dollar question is, ‘What is wrong?’” (Vernick, pg. 18)
Just in case you’re trying to decide whether it really is all in your head or if you’re actually, clinically depressed, let’s take a look at the symptoms (courtesy of Getting Over the Blues, by Leslie Vernick, pgs. 19–20).
Physical symptoms:
Chronic aches and pains not otherwise explainable
Sleep disturbances
Not taking care of your appearance
Eating disturbances (overeating or loss of appetite)
Loss of interest in physical intimacy with your husband
Low energy, lethargy, feeling of heaviness
Emotional symptoms:
Feeling guilty
Feeling worthless and undeserving of anything good
Feeling disappointed in oneself
Feeling sad for no apparent reason; excessive crying
Feeling numb
Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
Feeling hopeless or pessimistic about the future
Irritability, sometimes feelings of panic
Withdrawal from family and friends
Mental symptoms:
Inability to concentrate
Inability to make decisions
Recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicide (call for help immediately!!)
Difficulty thinking and remembering
Negative or uncaring view of self, others, life in general
Spiritual symptoms:
Morbid preoccupation with faults and/or failures
Feelings of guilt not relieved by prayer
Feeling abandoned or rejected by God
Lack of meaning or purpose in life
Loss of interest in spiritual things
Just a point of clarification here: we all suffer from some of these feelings at one time or another to some degree. The actual diagnosis of depression occurs when you have many of these symptoms over a period of longer than several weeks. Clinical depression is not something you can just snap out of or get over. Please, please, please make an appointment to see your family physician if this applies to you. If you think you’ll have a hard time verbalizing your symptoms, print this article out and put a check mark next to your specific problems.
Depression is a complex disease with many different causes. Sometimes a chronic illness can lead to feelings of depression. Check with your pharmacist to see if medications you may be on for other issues could cause depression as a side effect. Loss, major conflicts, or unmet expectations in your life can also lead to depression. Chemical imbalances in the brain may be responsible for depression. Since I do not have a medical degree, I make no effort to diagnose or to suggest treatment options for clinical depression. My purpose here is simply to point out that depression has many causes; it is not a form of punishment for some spiritual misdemeanor (usually); it is not something of which to be ashamed.
By understanding some of the symptoms and causes, we can more effectively treat depression so that we can be the homeschool moms that God has in mind for us to be. Be blessed and encouraged, my fellow homeschool sisters. You are not alone and you can be happy again! 
This article appears over at Heart of the Matter Online today as part of their ongoing series on depression. Check it out! 

9 thoughts on “It’s (Not) All in Your Head”

  1. Good for you for helping spread this information! I always try to help educate people about all of this. Another good tip is to have a spouse, family member or close friend go to the doctor with you so they can help communicate about symptoms and also write down/remember information given to you from the doctor (it's hard to retain all that info!). Something else interesting to look at is how depression looks different in men, and also in teenagers and children. Communication and education is the key! ❤


  2. One of the very best resources I've ever seen on this topic is the book \”Depression, the Way Out\” by Dr. Neil Nedley. Excellent book, and very helpful for the lay person!


  3. Good stuff, Bethany. Depression is overlooked and people who suffer from it are often put \”in a box\” and judged by others. That doesn't help the depression, either! I'm glad you are sharing this very important information!


  4. Depression is not easy to admit. I have gone through it myself. Thank you for bringing to light about it. Hopefully you will help moms understand about it and they can get help they need or help for someone they know. Looking forward to seeing more from you during the blog hop!


  5. Knowing these signs and symptoms is important. It is also very important that you see a physician right away because certain physical conditions can lead to these same symptoms (I had low potassium and vitamin D a few months ago and doctors kept telling me I was depressed…once they discovered the low minerals, and treated them, my symptoms went away!). Often there is a very physical reason for depression (such as hormone imbalances following pregnancy) that is easily treatable…even some natural remedies can help depression. Just make sure you get HELP from somewhere. Don't travel the road alone…and seek God's help. He will walk beside you.Blessings,Heather


  6. Heather I like what you said I just need to find a Dr. period. And thanks for the reminder to not travel this road alone although that is what I have had to do. I am 61yrs old but don't feel that old at all. I keep forgetting to take my D thank you for the reminder. I am having problems remember to take my med. We recently moved from another state so I am even more isolated. I keep praying for God's direction for a good Dr. and friends that I can confide in. May we all feel The Lord comfort as we fight this battle known as depression


  7. Great post, sometimes we can't see the big picture from the inside and get stuck wondering when everything went wrong and is not great anymore. Now I can get push the restart.


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