What is Crippling Depression?
Crippling depression is a kind of mental illness whereby due to certain demotivating yet recurring incidences we are thrown into a major depressive state. Where even if we try to come out, we aren’t able to as our own behavioral patterns keep falling back into the same vicious cycles.
We all must have been there once in our lifetime, where depression takes over our entire entity in such a way that we fail to pull ourselves out of the bed and follow through with our normal daily routine. Even doing our normal chores seems like moving a mountain to us.
When this kind of depression keeps coming back time & again due to similar experiences or situations, that’s when it takes the form of Crippling depression. Recurring failures from cracking a job interview, or failure in attaining a fulfilling relationship, or even failure in getting that promotion at your workplace makes it nearly impossible to walk or move properly.
Let’s begin with the story of Antony. Antony was in his late forties and had been successfully well settled in his career. But “lately” he had begun feeling, that “he is off the game”! His juniors in their twenties & thirties in his company are all feeling empowered all of a sudden! It’s depressing for Antony to feel this way as he thought the tech industry is all about young people & he felt he aged out of this field he loved. His depression kept increasing over the next 6 months though he kept it hidden from his co-workers.
It was getting harder to get out of bed, his memory wasn’t holding things either. At times he couldn’t even force himself to work and sit in front of the screen surfing the web.
“This can’t go on for long”- He thought to himself and was getting desperate each day.
One day he landed at the door of a therapist. After carefully going through his profile and talking about his recent challenges, the therapist was able to convince Antony to start an exercise program along with diet changes & a few lifestyle changes. But as he shared more & opened up it was quite clear that he had allowed his career to drift into an area he had ZERO interest in. The mental stimulation of his job was meaningless & boring.
He then made a few mid-career course corrections, so he could get back to mapping – technically known as geographical information systems or GIS which was his area of passion.
6 months later, Antony was a changed man. He could hardly wait to get to work each morning, he never realized how important it was to be excited by his own work & passion.
Though this is just an example of a depressive state, if we let this little passion go amiss out of our life we might fall into the pit of Crippling Depression.
Causes of Crippling Depression:
- Genetic Link: It is found that 50% of the depression cases have a genetic link. Genetics may play a role in the development of depression. If you have a parent or sibling who had depression, you are 2 to 3 times more prone to the mental illness.
- Biological Causes: It is found that different biological factors may cause depression like – imbalances in hormones and brain chemicals.
- Environmental Causes: Depression may also be caused by environmental factors. Examples – childhood trauma, abuse, the death of a loved one, being bullied at school, job loss, or financial constraints.
- Psychological Causes: The history of other mental illnesses, severe anxiety, substance abuse, suffering from chronic disorders, or certain medications.
Symptoms of Crippling Depression:
Everyone experiences the occasional down day or period of sadness. But crippling depression is much more than that. Its symptoms can impact both your mood and your physical health. Untreated clinical depression can lead to thoughts of self-harm and suicide.
Few commonly found symptoms of Crippling Depression are
- Persistent feelings of sadness or anxiousness
- Feeling empty and alone
- Struggling with hopelessness and seeing every situation pessimistically
- Trouble enjoying activities that used to bring joy
- Irritability and less patience with others
- Constantly feeling worthless and like a burden to those around you
- A decrease in concentration
- An inability to make decisions
- Feeling worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Low energy
- Sleeping all the time or struggling to sleep
- Restlessness Loss of appetite or overeating
- Weight fluctuations
- Body pains
- Digestive issues
How to Deal with Crippling Depression:
Psychotherapy has several approaches and treatment for depression including:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This is an effective type of therapy for the psychological treatment of mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT): This is a focused and short-term treatment to overcome depression. Patients who have mild depression can be treated with IPT together with antidepressant medication.
- Problem-Solving Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on a person experiencing depression to talk about the problems they are experiencing. The therapist or counselor medically reviews this, and together, they will search for ways to solve the problem at hand.
If a psychiatrist has medically reviewed your case, you may be prescribed with an antidepressant medication. The most common medication treatments for depression prescribed are Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Although, significant data shows that antidepressant medications may have many side effects. Examples of these side effects are weight gain, nausea, and low sex drive.
Coping with Depression
Aside from mental health services and medications, some changes should start from within you too. This can come in forms of self-care, lifestyle changes, joining a support group, beginning an exercise regimen, or starting a gratitude journal.
You must be aware of how to cope with depression. Because, at the end of the day, you alone can make these changes. Your positive mindset is more powerful than any other negativities in the world.
Written by Ananya Bhattacharya, ENHAPP Wellness Coach & Nutritionist