By Beatrice Mokwunye

 

Depression is a low graded mood, comprised intense feeling of sadness, hopelessness, bitterness and rage. When it hijacks a fellow, it looks like the whole world has crumbled on her. At this point, the victim struggles with various physical, mental and spiritual crises.

Some of the physical symptoms are a severe headache that lasts for days, fever, chronic eye pain, and general body weakness, as well as chest, back, abdominal and even waist pain. In fact, if you’ve experienced an ailment before, depression triggers them back alive; in the presence of depression, all sicknesses come resurrect.

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Mentally, depression drains the brain. The victim cannot think right, concentrate, nor relax. She experiences a continuous, burning sensation right at the top and, sometimes, the corner of the brain leaving her disorganised, frustrated, furious and, in most cases, forgetful. In a depressive episode, the only thing you can think of is the gruesome state—depression. But, do you ever wonder why you seem “out-of-your-mind” when depressed? This is it:

The brain contains three parts: The hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The hippocampus is located in the centre of the brain. It regulates emotions and controls memory. The prefrontal cortex is at the forehead and is responsible for intelligence, information processing and retentiveness, decision-making, concentration and relaxation of the mind, body and soul. Amygdala, on the other hand, triggers emotional responses such as pleasure, fear, anger and the likes. On a normal circumstance, when the body is exposed to stress, probably, during the day, the hippocampus triggers the secretion of a stress hormone called cortisol.

However, during several depressive episodes, the cortisol level increases. Here’s the effect:

Researchers indicate that excess amount of cortisol shrinks the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, as result, the memory neurones remain dormant and inactive. Note that, these are parts of your brain responsible for reasoning, decision-making, concentration and what have you. It’s just like unscrewing all the knots and bolts of a grinding machine and still expect it to work perfectly—could that be possible?

However, the amygdala, which is the seat of emotional responses, does not shrink. In the presence of excess cortisol, the amygdala becomes quite elaborate and hyperactive. Thus, you’re more prone to weeping, wailing and the likes. Simply put, you think less but feel more.

According to study a publication on Medical Daily Pulse, continuous episodes of depression can damage a person’s brain in the long run. Push medical and psychological evidence aside. From personal experience, I say, if you don’t deal with depression, it will crush you without mercy. Today, I’m still reaping the ripple effect of several encountered episodes. For two consecutive years, I wined and dined in the gruesome pool of depression and guess what. Although now I’m sound, my eyes and head are yet to recover. I still suffer severe pains of head and eyes that I’ve always felt then; no medication has been effectual. Next to that is my memory–once it’s afternoon, in most occasions, I find it difficult to concentrate or engage in any cognitive activity. This is quite unlike me before depression struck. That’s by the way.

The best way out of depression is to “speak up,” “Voice out,” and “attack.” It’s difficult; I know. But, you’ve got to take it by force. Yes, you might not find the right word to explain how you feel. I understand, but, say it anyhow because if you don’t, nobody will care to know—not even your mum or a bosom friend. People hate seeing gloomy faces. Speaking out eases the stress and pains of depression. So get up and do it.

Do all you can; avoid depression. Fight with your last breath out of it, when hooked. Remember, if you don’t deal with depression, it will crush you.

So, be strong; you’re not alone. God cares.

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