Friday, May 9, 2014

Feeling Depressed in a Financial Depression

Recently it seems like more people are looking into therapy in Los Angeles as more people are seeking support for depression in the 'Financial Depression'. We are depressed because some of us have forgotten what matters most and instead, sought those things we believed would make us happy. Our values have been tweaked to the point of confusion. We take pride in our financial status, not our loved ones. Our self-esteem depends on how high we get on the corporate ladder.

The perception of success is based on the bigger or better houses and cars that we can acquire. Society snowballed into a battle of keeping up with 'the Jones''. When we realized the Jones' were crooked, fake and suffering major loss on the financial front, we all collapsed into identity crisis. We no longer knew who we were, how we mattered or if we even existed. Without a sense of self, depression can slowly make it's way into our being.

Now with the economy tanking, and our financial stability shaken to the core, it's almost impossible to sanely keep things together. Some people are working two jobs or not working at all due to layoffs. Suddenly, our survival mode kicks in with only the basic things such as food, shelter and clothing becoming top priority and concern. We are so busy struggling to provide for ourselves and our family that we begin to unravel. As a result, we're left to our own defenses, emotionally and physically. No doubt this takes a toll on our emotions. We start feeling depression, stress, anxiety and fear and that was all in the last minute!

It seems more people are getting desperate in wake of today's dire economy. Unfortunately, we hear on the news about more suicides and homicides of family members and employees. In some form or another, depression most likely played a role in these tragedies. When someone is severely depressed, he sees no hope for the future. His mind set is one of despair as he feels there is no escape from extreme negative thoughts.

A high level of stress can cause major health problems. Many people do not realize that depression should be considered one of those problems. There are several types of depression. One is biological (organic) where people can get depressed due to genetics or biological chemistry. Another form of depression is reactive, when a psychosocial stressor such as divorce, disappointments, a loss, or a life adjustment, interferes with an individual's daily functioning . Grief is similar to reactive because it is a result of a psychosocial stressor and is necessary and normal in the grieving process. However, grief can slowly manifest into clinical depression which is more severe if continuous in duration, intensity and impacts life functioning. Perhaps, if we are more aware of the characteristic in clinical depression we can help our loved ones or ourselves in getting help before it's too late. The major symptoms of depression are:

Low self esteem
Mood of sadness, despair, emptiness
Anhedonia (Can no longer find pleasure in things)
Isolating from others
Apathy, low motivation
Extreme emotional sensitivity
Negative thinking
Suicidal ideas

It may seem like we all have these symptoms at one time or another. But, remember to look at duration (months to years), intensity(to the extreme) and impact of functioning(severely affected).

Impact of functioning symptoms are some of the following;

Giving away personal items
Early morning awakening
Insomnia or disturbed sleep
Extreme weight loss or gain
Excessive sleeping
Panic attacks

Types of help:

* If severe please contact your Doctor or Therapist
* Get involved with him/her let them know you are available to listen
* Go out and do things like exercise, walk, hike, bike, etc.
* Ask if they have thought of suicide, if so is there a 'plan' on how (if have plan then more serious in suicide)
* Contact suicide hot-line 1 800 273 TALK
* Have them start journaling or writing feelings
* Let them know there is hope and they don't have to feel this way forever

We will eventually overcome this Depression and also our own depression. Both will take a lot of work and perseverance, but not all is lost in our will to survive. Hopefully, if we get anything out of this day and age is that what matters most is our family, loved ones and friends. We can love our things and it may make us happy today, but can it love us back and take care of us when we're down tomorrow?

**Not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. If need help please advise your Doctor.

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