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Everyone feels low sometimes

Everyone experiences ups and downs, depending on what is happening in their lives.

Realising things are not as good as they could be is a first step to doing something about it.  If you are feeling low right now, please talk to someone about it. Talking openly about how you really feel can be like opening a door. Talking puts you back in control and reveals the choices you have.  While it may not be possible to solve all the problems you are facing right now, you can find things to help you take care of yourself day to day.

Many people feel pressured into hiding their feelings out of embarrassment or concern not to burden family or friends. But hiding under a calm exterior only saves the problem for later and stress can build up until it becomes unbearable. Don’t leave it that long.

If you are feeling suicidal, please contact a suicide or crisis hotline immediately.

When it's more than "sometimes"

Most people feel depressed at some stage of their lives, but for some the feelings are more intense and last longer.  This type of depression doesn't just ‘go away', and telling the person to ‘cheer up' or ‘pull yourself together' doesn't help. It's not that simple.

As depression deepens and takes over the body and mind, the pain of depression often becomes overwhelming. The chemical imbalance and deep despair can lead the brain to try and find ways to end the pain. This is when suicidal thinking begins. Depressive illnesses can distort thinking such that a person can’t think clearly or rationally. The illness can cause thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, which may lead to suicidal thoughts.

But there is hope. Depression is a medical condition that can usually be treated. A doctor may prescribe medication or therapy -- or a combination of the two.  It all begins with reaching out for help.

Depression checklist

Symptoms of Depression

Depression, Stigma, and Transgender Identity

There is some evidence that transgendered persons may be less likely to seek treatment for depression--fearing that their gender issues will be assumed to be the cause of their symptoms, and that they will be judged negatively. Because of these and other factors, depression associated with gender transition may be underdiagnosed.

Stigma and lack of understanding are the main reasons depression remains a topic people avoid talking about. People suffering from depression fear others will think they’re crazy or weak, or somehow a lesser person. Cultural norms are slowly changing, and people are becoming more aware of the nature of depressive illnesses and their impact on a person’s well being.

Fifty percent of those who die by suicide were afflicted with major depression, and the suicide rate of people with major depression is eight times that of the general population.  Stigma about being gender variant combined with stigma about depression and suicide are a life-threatening mix for transgender people. 

Can depressive illnesses be treated?

Yes. There are various ways to treat depressive illnesses depending on the type of illness, the severity, and the age of the person being treated. A person suffering with depression should not try to manage the illness on their own. Knowing and recognizing the signs of depressive illness helps avoid needless suffering available through treatment. Depression is a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure that can be effectively managed with the help of mental health professionals including medical doctors, registered nurses, psychologists and therapists, social workers, clergy, family members, and community support.

How do alcohol and drugs affect depression?

Alcohol is a depressant, so it can and often does make depression worse. Drug use alone or in combination with alcohol use for someone suffering with depression can be lethal. Too often people attempt to alleviate the symptoms of depression by drinking or using drugs which can increase the risk of suicide by impairing judgment and increasing impulsivity.

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Disclaimer: The information provided through TransFaith InterSections is intended to help educate transgender people and our allies about transgender health concerns. The information provided is general in nature and is not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. If you suspect you have a disease or health-related condition of any kind, you should contact your health care professional immediately. Feedback, suggestions, and corrections are welcome. Please contact us by email or by phone (215-840-2858)!

 

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