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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Oct 13, 2009

Just as the days shorten upon the eve of winter, we turn toward indoor activities. Some people still engage in outdoor activities. However, for some people who suddenly find themselves cooped up, their thoughts may turn toward a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder.

Combine that with such factors as a chemical imbalance or the sudden loss of a job or a loved one, and you’re looking for trouble.

Depression can happen to anyone at anytime. It’s not something you can “fight off” or “resist.” Being depressed does not indicate a lack of one’s emotional constitution. Depression is a reality.

Adolescents and seniors are often the most impacted, for a variety of reasons. Adolescents may feel depressed because the loss of that first love or because they feel left out of a group. And since young people tend to magnify the significance of certain life events, thinking their “live is over,” their thoughts may tend toward depression, or even worse, suicide.

Seniors, often widows or widowers, may have the same feeling when they find themselves without the person whom they thought would share the rest of their lives. Children move away, they’re no longer working and lifelong friends pass away. They, too, may find their thoughts turning toward suicide.

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month, a time to understand that depression is a very real and palpable illness just as much as a sprained ankle or bruised elbow. The only difference, though, is that depression is an invisible illness. That fact makes it even more difficult for the person who is depressed who may feel that “no one cares” or that “no one understands”.

Reality is, though, that many people do understand – mental health professionals as well as others who have been depressed and sought help and now volunteer their time on hotlines and in counseling centers to help others see that yes, there is a bottom, and with someone’s help, one can climb upward again.

If you or someone you know shows signs of depression, such as a loss of appetite, lack of interest in activities or chronic fatigue, consult a mental health professional or counselor immediately.

Depression is real. But by reaching out and asking for help, life can get better.