Scoliosis

Frequently Asked Questions About Possibly Having Depression

February 18, 2021

I loved everything about being a gymnast. I had always loved dressing up, dancing, and putting on some makeup. More importantly, I was exemplary at it, and my coaches admired my competitive spirit. “How can someone look so sweet and fierce on the mat?” they used to say. I had been competing ever since I reached the minimum age limit for tournaments and racking up wins, much to everyone’s delight.

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A Glitch In My Plans

Despite the glitz and glam that came with gymnastics, it was no different from other sports in terms of training difficulty. Every morning, I had to stretch all my limbs to stay as flexible as possible even when there was no competition. If I had to compete, I would have to wake up earlier than everybody, head to the gym for an hour, go to school, do my homework, and train for two to four hours after that. I managed to juggle my activities easily when I was still in elementary school, although things became challenging as years passed by.

It came to the point where I had to be homeschooled for half a year as I started competing out of state in middle school. What little I got to rest, I had to spend half of it studying. More than once, I cried to my parents out of exhaustion and wanted to quit school to focus on gymnastics, but they said that I needed a fallback plan. “Sports is not a lifetime job. While it’s great to compete as much as you can now, there will come a time when you’ll need to retire,” Dad said.

When I heard that, I laughed. Though I knew that my father only spoke the truth, I was only 16 years old then – I thought I still had a decade to become a legendary gymnast. That’s what I had been aiming for all this time; that’s why I had been pushing my body to the limit whenever I trained and competed.

Unfortunately, during an executive checkup, the doctor saw a slight curvature in my spine. It was not too prominent at the time, but the doctor advised me to avoid training too much. I did not speak back then, though I was screaming in my head. How could I tell my coaches to lessen my activities when we were on a roll at the time? I had many competitions lined up, and everyone counted on me to bring home medals and trophies.

As stubborn as I was, I did not listen to the doctor. After several months, I woke up with a painful back. I also felt that something’s wrong whenever I stood up straight, so I asked my parents to take me to the clinic again. That’s when the doctor told me that I had scoliosis. While the news shook me, I was not prepared for my parents’ mutual decision to make me retire at 16 years old.

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Source: pixabay.com

When The Lights Went Out

Of course, I could not disagree with Mom and Dad. They were right – my health was more important than anything. Despite that, I could not help but feel sad about it. My entire career had already been mapped out years ago. I was always a strong competitor, so my coaches believed that I could hold world records in no time. But then, scoliosis came into the picture and derailed everything.

I felt lost and unmotivated to do anything for a while after that. My parents did not know about it until much later, but I often came home past 8 p.m. and told them that I already ate with my friends. In reality, I merely stayed at the park and stared into nothing until the sky went dark. I had always been slim, so they did not notice that I lost a little weight from my loss of appetite. Some days, I would lie to my parents about feeling ill to avoid going to school.

I did not think much about my symptoms until I read an article about depression. I ticked off most – if not all – the symptoms, making me believe that I had the mental disorder.

Is it possible to diagnose yourself with depression?

It is impossible to diagnose yourself with depression, considering you are not trained to do so. The best thing you can do is download a screening self-test and check which symptoms you possibly have. But then again, that is nothing compared to booking an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist and letting the expert assess your condition.

What are the chances of having depression?

In reality, everyone can have depression. This mental disorder does not even choose how to age it manifests, considering kids get diagnosed with depression. However, your chances of getting depressed increases if:

  • You have a direct relative with depression.
  • You have a pre-existing mental disorder that makes you feel sad and lonely all the time.
  • You have dealt with some form of abuse, and nothing seems to help you get over it.
  • You have acquired a new physical illness, but you cannot accept it.

What is the highest cause of depression?

Genetics is perhaps the highest cause of depression. Studies reveal that it covers 40% of the problem – a percentage that becomes more probable if depression has been detected in your parents, siblings, and other direct relatives. The remaining 60% can then be divided into abuse, stress, peer pressure, and various environmental factors.

How does depression affect synapse?

Depression affects neural synapses by technically cutting them off and giving them no chance to regrow. The longer you leave your depression untreated, the more synapses will most likely get destroyed. The only way to reverse this problem is by taking antidepressants.

Is school the cause of depression?

Yes, school can be the cause of depression for some people – particularly students. This issue is not prevalent among bullied individuals alone. In reality, even high-achieving students tend to get depressed because of academic pressure. Their depression may become more severe as their neural connections start to die and cause short-term memory and forgetfulness.

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Source: pixabay.com

How do I know if I’m bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is one of the trickiest mood disorders to diagnose, considering you may keep on experiencing symptoms of mania and depression. Still, if you are looking for the early signs of bipolar disorder, here they are:

  • You do not merely feel down. Instead, you cannot sleep, or you oversleep, lose interest in everything you used to enjoy, feel sluggish, and are unable to concentrate.
  • Some days, you feel like you will never run out of energy. You want to do everything at once or be everywhere at once. Even if you experience failure, you shake it off and move on to the next adventure.
  • Dealing with manic symptoms may make you happy at first, but you will eventually feel out of control. While you may know that you should not do something, you still do it.

Is it okay to self-diagnose anxiety?

No, it is not okay to self-diagnose anxiety. Self-tests exist so that individuals can assess their likelihood of having a specific mental disorder. However, considering you are neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist, you can’t determine your condition or how severe it may be.

Can you self-diagnose a mental illness?

Technically, there are many screening self-tests that you can consult if you want to guarantee that you have a mental illness before contacting a psychiatrist or psychologist. These typically come in the form of questionnaires or checklists, and the more items you tick off, the higher your chances are of having a psychological condition.

Despite self-tests, many mental health professionals discourage people from trying them, considering it can trivialize the disorder. Others tend to avoid getting an official diagnosis as they believe they already know what’s happening to them.

Who is at the most significant risk for depression?

A young female adult has the highest chance of getting depression than anyone. In truth, studies reveal that females are twice more likely than males to get depressed. Though more research must be conducted regarding the matter, it may have something to do with the fact that men can compartmentalize their thoughts while women cannot.

Which age group has the highest rate of depression?

The young adult group has the highest depression rate. This ranges from 18 to 25 years old.

Assuming you wonder why young adults are more prone to getting depressed than others, there are many possible reasons for that, such as:

  • Young adults have a twisted standard of beauty in their minds, no thanks to the physical enhancements that they may have seen on TV personalities.
  • Young adults are dealing with more stress than they admit. Stress is one of the commonly known trigger factors for various mental disorders, including depression.
  • Young adults have experienced irreversible life changes. For instance, their parents may have divorced, have failed to enter their dream college, etc.
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Source: pixabay.com

What is the primary cause of depression?

There is no primary cause of depression because that will imply that one cause is more prevalent than the other. In reality, depression results from various causes acting together, such as genetics, stressful events, pre-existing psychological disorders, etc. Despite that, studies suggest that if you have a family member with depression, there is a high likelihood that you or another close relative will get diagnosed with it too.

Which country has the highest rate of depression?

China has been reported to have the highest depression rate globally, considering more than 100 million individuals were affected by the mental disorder in 2016. However, the problem is that not all of them have received a diagnosis, so their depression is left untreated. That’s one reason China has seen an increase in the number of suicide cases in the country.

Does depression count as a disability?

Yes, depression counts as a disability. The more severe it gets, the more it prevents you from living naturally and doing your daily tasks. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not recognize a mild form of depression.

What part of the brain causes depression?

The changes in the brain’s three vital parts – the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus –cause depression. After all, the mental disorder begins with a decrease in a person’s serotonin levels. When that happens, the hippocampus fills the void with cortisol, the stress hormone. Instead of helping, though, it makes matters worse.

As if that is not enough, the oxygen supply in the brain decreases, causing inflammation. The longer there is no oxygen in the brain, the more neural connections will die. Because of that, the person develops short-term memory loss and mood swings.

Final Thoughts

I came clean to my parents about my possible mental health condition and told them everything I had been doing in the past months. It was the first time I saw them cry out of helplessness, but I assured them that I wanted to be okay. After my revelation, they helped me get in contact with a psychologist and went on to do psychotherapy.

I’m not sure if depression will ever go away completely, but I feel better now, and I can’t wait to get into college.