Ladies and gentlemen, I have finally finished writing A Guidebook for the Young and Depressed. It was a great challenge to finish this book in 30 days, I almost finished it in the set time, but writing a book is very different from writing a blog post, and I had some editing and technical issues that set me back a few days. Nevertheless, it's ready now and I present you the first part of my first book ever!
It’s hard to understand what depression feels like unless you feel it yourself. My understanding of depression has completely changed after going through it myself. I hope my experience can shed some light on how to take care of yourself or others with depression.
I never thought I would be depressed. People don’t expect to get depressed. I didn’t know anyone who had depression. Like most people depression was not something I knew much about. So when I became depressed I didn’t know what hit me. I didn’t know how to make myself better. I was helpless.
Statistics show that one in three people experience depression at one point in their life. In Australia, suicide is the number one killer of young people of ages 15-24, and untreated depression is the number one cause of suicides. For this age group, suicides account for more deaths than car accidents on average. It’s such a big issue, but as individuals and as a community we are unequipped to deal with it.
In order to sit their test and obtain their probationary license, learner drivers are legally required to log 120 hours of driving practice with a supervisor. We get a lot of learning time and screen time so we can be safer drivers on the road. That’s great, but where do we learn how to take care of our mental health? Do we know hot be safe and healthy?
I knew nothing about mental illness until I experienced it firsthand. I was scared. I didn’t know what the warning signs were, nor did I know how to take care of myself. If I had a fraction of the 120 hours spent practicing driving to learn about depression I would have been in a better place to look after myself when I got depressed. It wasn’t just me who didn’t know about depression. The people around me didn’t know either. They wanted to, help me, but they didn’t know any more about depression than I did. We were all unprepared. That’s why I wanted to raise awareness by writing this book and sharing my personal experience with you.
Depression is not just a burden for young people, but also for everyone else in world. According to the studies conducted by the World Health Organisation, WHO, in 2004 depression was the leading disease burdening women ages of 15 to 44 all over the world.
Studied countries were classified by income levels, a lower income would affect what kind of diseases the individuals were prone too, but results showed depression was the leading disease, burdening women across all income levels.
In the same report, WHO predicted that by 2030 the leading cause of death and disability will be depressive illnesses outpacing the current leading causes like respiratory conditions, and diarrheal diseases. That means in 2030 depression will outpace cancer, stroke, diabetes, and accidents.
Depression is a huge issue and that means you aren’t alone. People who get help have a high chance of recovery. The stigma surrounding depression holds us back from sharing our experiences. If we want to prevent suicides we as both individuals and as a community, talk about it.
We don’t talk about it so we remain in the dark and that puts us in disadvantaged position when we are faced with it. After I had gotten well I started noticing that people all around me who were struggling with depression. They don’t talk about it because depression makes people pull inwards and hide.
Not getting help early in depression is the problem not the lack of available treatments. Cognitive behavioural therapy, exercise, light therapy, and nutrition are highly successful in treating depression. People don’t recognise the warning signs of depression like increasing reclusive behaviour, loss of interest, and suicidal thoughts as a symptom of depression. Instead of recognising it’s the depression that’s making the miserable, they blame themselves.
We need to talk about depression openly and deeply to learn more about, understand it in order to prevent suicides. And, in the case we lose people to it at least we won’t be lost, frustrated, and angry because we would be able to understand how depression works.
Did you know that depression was one of the leading causes of death for young people? What do you think? Let me know below in the comments.
Oh, and if you want the book , it's here -A Guidebook for the Young and Depressed .