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educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author, writer/contributor, program executive, and radio host
There is sometimes confusion about mental health challenges, as well as a lack of understanding about depression as compared to other bodily ailments. Depression is an issue related to the body's functioning and should be addressed similar to any other medical condition. Depression can be associated with irregular brain activity, a chemical imbalance, or a situational event (single or periodic).
There are times that – despite available information – individuals will believe things that might not be true --- even if there isn’t any evidence to support the belief. Usually these beliefs are related to an individual’s emotions, such as feeling insecure, being jealous, having self-doubt, or making unnecessary comparisons. These types of feelings aren’t necessarily related to irregular brain activity, as emotions – sometimes irrational – are a normal part of human existence. However, if these feelings lead to an individual engaging in harmful thoughts or behaviors – to themselves or others – then this may be the beginning of a medical concern.
Sometimes the body doesn’t function as it should because of an imbalance, such as a lack of water, sleep, nutrients, or other factors. During these times, an individual might not think clearly, be as productive, might feel sluggish, or may experience other noticeable differences. Individuals who seek relief from these types of imbalances will usually need to take corrective action to restore their body to its normal functioning. Similar imbalances can occur for individuals who are effected by depression caused by a chemical imbalance. For these individuals, the body lacks the ability to make adjustments on its own; therefore, individuals may use medicine to adjust the body’s chemistry.
A life event can also cause a sudden change in an individual’s attitude, mood, or beliefs. These changes aren’t related to irregular brain activity or a chemical imbalance, but are related to a situational event. For example, someone might experience a headache after a stressful day and will either allow the pain to subside on its own or will take pain medication to obtain relief. Another individual might experience headaches throughout the year related to their internal chemistry, specific events, or environmental conditions, which may require a pain management strategy. These comparisons highlight the difference between single versus periodic events that can occur for someone who isn’t always depressed.
An individual’s depression can have various origins, which need to be identified to develop an effective management plan. Depression whether related to irregular brain activity, a chemical imbalance, or a life event shouldn’t be considered a weakness, an inability to cope, or any other judgmental evaluation.
Depression is a legitimate medical concern that affects and also causes effects to the body. Therefore, depression symptoms should be identified, treated, and managed similar to any other medical condition that might impact anyone’s ability to function and experience a fulfilled life.
Anyone who requires assistance should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or 1-800-273-8255.
A collection of Mr. Young's articles and interviews about depression are available at: www.slyoung.com/depression.html
Additional information about Mr. Young’s journey to overcome his depression and near-suicide can be obtained in his book “Choosing to Take a Stand: Changed me, my life, and my destiny”.