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Depression is a widespread disease - and it threatens our mental health

"I want to be small, crawl in somewhere, not have to think or feel anymore. Life has become a tightrope act for me, every second I am afraid of falling. Who will catch me? Who will protect me? Who is there? No one. I can't keep this up! HELP!!!"

I wrote these words in my diary during a depressive phase in the context of my bipolar disorder. In the end, I "persevered" and survived this difficult time. That is not entirely self-evident. Depression must always (!) be taken very seriously, because unfortunately it is also a potentially fatal illness: Some sufferers completely lose the courage to face life and despair so much that they develop suicidal thoughts. The good news is that depression is usually easily treatable and even curable, especially if it is diagnosed at an early stage. And that is exactly why we need to talk about it.

European Depression Day on 2 October 2022

Every year on the first Sunday in October, the so-called European Depression Day takes place, this time on 2 October 2022. On this day, depression is to be brought into the public eye with many different activities. Depression urgently needs attention, as it is one of the most widespread mental illnesses: "Considered over a lifetime, according to various studies, about every 5th to 6th adult is affected by depression at some point [...]." (Homepage of the German Depression Aid).

Do I have depression?

If you feel very depressed, listless and joyless over a longer period of time, you often ask yourself: Is this still a normal low or am I already depressed? The online self-test (only nine questions) available on the homepage of the Deutsche Depressionshilfe (German Depression Aid) can provide an important clue as to whether medical treatment is necessary.

Talking helps

If you are suffering from depression, you often withdraw, even from friends or close family members. Some sufferers become very taciturn, others even go completely silent. Nevertheless, you should definitely dare to confide in a trusted person as a first step. If this person is not available, telephone contacts such as here at Redezeit für Dich or at the telephone counselling service can be a first point of contact. The family doctor should also be contacted as early as possible, because as already mentioned, the earlier depression is treated, the better.

Read more

In the current column "Aufklärung tut nötig: Wie die Volkskrankheit Depression unsere mentale Gesundheit bedroht" ("Awareness is needed: How the widespread disease depression threatens our mental health"), which Nora Hille wrote together with Dr. Maren Buhl for the online magazine FemalExperts, the following aspects, among others, are addressed:

▶ Helping people suffering from depression ▶ How dangerous is depression? ▶ Is it allowed or should one talk about the danger of suicide? ▶ This is what depression feels like ▶ How is depression diagnosed? ▶ The difference between depression and acute stress reaction ▶ Book tips on the topic ▶ Bipolar depression

Read more: https://femalexperts.com/wie-die-volkskrankheit-depression-unsere-mentale-gesundheit-bedroht

About the author

Nora Hille, born 1975, married, two children. Studied history, literature and media studies. 12 years working in the field of communication/PR. Retired for health reasons. Writes as an affected person and experience expert on the topics of mental health and mental illness. Is committed to anti-stigma work, i.e. against the stigmatisation (exclusion) of mentally ill people in our society for more togetherness, tolerance and equality. She also writes literary essays, poems and short prose.