What if We Talked about Depression?Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Some people live in silence about their struggle with depression. And we have a right to talk about our physical and mental health or not. But opening up about depression could be the first step toward finding relief. It could also help inspire others to share their own stories or to seek help.
About 1 in 10 American adults age 40 – 59 has depression. The number drops slightly at age 60 and over.1 Some people may be reluctant to seek help, and some may not recognize their depression at all. Common symptoms – like problems sleeping or lack of energy – may be brushed off or explained away as short-term stress or normal aging.
October’s National Depression Screening Day is an annual reminder to be proactive about your mental health. One way to start is to take this online depression screening. It’s quick, it’s private, and it may help you decide if you want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. The screening doesn’t provide a diagnosis. It’s only for your education.
With professional help, depression is treatable. It may feel scary to seek help, but think what could happen if people spoke up. It could mean less suffering, more understanding and fewer suicides. Sharing your story can lift a great weight off your shoulders, and it takes courage to do it.
Here are some things you might think about if you decide you want to talk to someone in your life about depression.
Who would you talk to? Choose the person you think would offer you the most support and understanding. This may or may not be the person you feel closest to. It might be a friend, a family member or someone in your faith community. Or you may feel more comfortable talking with your doctor or another health professional.
How would you prepare? It’s helpful to let the person know beforehand that you want to discuss something that’s important to you. This gives a heads-up to the person to be ready to listen. You may also want to write out what you’d like to say. It can help you gather your thoughts and make sure you’re clear about it. You might even take notes with you when you have the conversation, which could help calm any nervousness you feel.
What would you say? In conversation, you could start by saying something like, “I’ve been having a tough time and I need to talk to you about it.” Use examples from your life to help the person appreciate what you’re going through and to see that it’s much more than “feeling down.”
What would you ask for? A supportive and trusted person will likely want to help in whatever way possible. Think about what you need, and ask for it. Maybe you need support in telling others in your life about your depression. Maybe it’s enough to know that the person is there if you need to talk. Whatever it is, ask for it – even if you just need help figuring out what help you need.
What if you talked about depression?
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
EGSM1809Tags: Aging and Mental Health, Health after 50