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Do What with My Bootstraps? (part 1)

Do What with My Bootstraps? (part 1)North Dakotans are creative and resourceful when it comes to troubleshooting most foreseeable challenges and taking care of our own problems.  And while the notion of “when the going gets tough, the tough get going,” may be true to a point, sometimes life throws more at us than even the strongest bootstraps can support.

It’s not because we are weak or whiny.  It’s because we are human and life is just plain tough sometimes.

Everyone, whether they show it or not, can feel sad, frustrated, or overwhelmed.  That doesn’t mean they are failures.  Feelings like those are just information – like a temperature gauge or a “check engine” light.  Those feelings are a cue that something needs to be corrected before we can be up and running again.

When we experience a disappointment or loss, it’s natural to feel sad.  Normal sadness is understandable, and it usually fades as we figure out how to handle the event that caused it and re-involve ourselves in our day-to-day life.

But depression is different.  It does not improve the same way as normal sadness does.

If a number of the signs/symptoms listed below are present in you or someone you know, and they continue for over two weeks, and aren’t connected with an understandable disappointment or loss, the person experiencing them could be depressed:

  • Feeling sad most of the day, nearly every day
  • Becoming irritable about abnormal things (men common in men)
  • Unable to stop worrying or overthinking
  • Difficulty concentrating because of worry
  • Disinterest in things that used to be enjoyed
  • Wanting to be alone or isolated
  • Sleep problems (trouble waking up or falling back to sleep because of worry, or sleeping much more than usual)
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy
  • Feeling like emotions can’t be controlled
  • People asking if something is wrong
  • Feeling physically ill
  • Thinking you’d be better off dead

Sometimes people won’t seek help for depression because they worry about what others might think.  But the fact is, even if the person feels alone, they aren’t.  An estimated 16.2 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode, and many more have a milder form of depression.

Depression is a complex medical condition and requires medical treatment just like any other medical condition.  (To be continued in next week’s column.)

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/work-boots-boots-shoes-footwear-4133817/  (downloaded 6/11/19)

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