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Depression Among the Disabled: Warning Signs and Tools to Cope

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Depression is not something one chooses to have. No one wants “depression” because of the unfair stigma associated with it. Depression can be identified by some of the following signs and symptoms, per  SAMHSA:

• Sadness, anxiety, or feeling “empty”  of any mood

• Feelings of hopelessness

• Feelings of pessimism, expecting only bad things to occur

• Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities

• Neglecting care of oneself, such as not bathing, grooming, or eating

• Fatigue or decreased energy level, moving or speaking slowly

• Irritability

Just like depression, no one wants to be labeled “disabled”.  Yet these two words, depression and disability are commonly used throughout the day.  In society, being unable to care for oneself or handle one’s responsibilities is frowned upon resulting in some being ostracized. The problem is basically general care and concern for your fellow man. October is National Disability Awareness Month and an excellent time to talk about depression and how it can effect those living with a disability. How can we care for those suffering from depression while managing a disability? Simple. We must start by getting a better understanding. Depression and disability can walk hand in hand as people suffering from a serious medical condition or disability can begin to experience symptoms of depression, and those suffering from severe symptoms of depression are disabled in a sense as they are unable to manage their lives and need assistance. Some key tools to remember and embrace if you, a loved one, or someone you know is dealing with depression or a disability:

• Stay physically active.

• Stay physically active.

• Be grateful for positives in life.

• Strengthen supportive social and family relationships

• Identify your purpose in life.

• Develop a sense of spirituality/belief in something greater than yourself.

• Get involved in your community and participate in programs that aid others.

Depression and disability is not the end.  The most important thing to do is talk about your feelings. Contact a mental health professional if needed. Embrace your abilities and do not focus on what you cannot do. There is always hope. By sharing support and kindness with others we can build stronger foundations for each other.

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