Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.  In order to be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms need to be present for a minimum of two weeks (Major Depression Disorder) or two years or more (Dysthymia).  Some forms of depression are moderately different, or they may develop under unique situations.  Nevertheless, depressive disorders are problematic because the sadness and lack of motivation they cause impedes a person’s ability to live a healthy life.  For example, depressive disorders can interfere with a person’s ability to function in personal (self), family, love (intimate relationships), social, work, and/or spiritual situations.

     Most people have experienced feeling sad or depressed at times.  Feeling sad or depressed is a normal response to loss, life’s struggles or an injured self-esteem.  However, when a person experiences feelings of intense sadness, including feeling hopeless, helpless, and worthless that lasts for many days to weeks and that also prevents a person from functioning on a normal basis, one’s depression may be something more than sadness.  Your depression may very well be clinical depression- a treatable medical condition.

     Postpartum Depression is a mood disorder that may affect women after childbirth.  Mothers that struggle with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that can make it difficult to complete daily activities for themselves and/or for others.  There is not one single cause of postpartum depression, and it does not occur as a result of something a mother does or does not do.  Postpartum depression develops from a combination of physical and emotional factors.

       Some Common Symptoms of POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, overwhelmed, or empty
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Crying more often than usual and/or for no apparent reason
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Oversleeping, or not being able to sleep even when the mother’s baby is asleep
  • Difficulty eating or eating too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding family and friends
  • Having difficulty bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby
  • Continuously doubting her ability to care for her baby

                          GENERAL SYMPTOMS of a DEPRESSIVE DISORDER

Individuals with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms.  However, common symptoms involve:

             * Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

             * Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

             * Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

             * Fatigue and decreased energy

             * Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

             * Irritability, restlessness

             * Loss of pleasure in life and lack of motivation

             * Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

             * Overeating or loss of appetite

             * Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings

             * Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that

                do not go away even with treatment             * Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts