Excerpt of article by Audrey Demmitt | Vision Aware
The holiday season is tough on those who are struggling with depression, anxiety and stress. Let’s face it–for many of us the family gatherings, endless shopping, and chaotic parties can leave us feeling down and exhausted. It’s a time that may be particularly difficult for someone new to vision loss. Many people who are blind or visually impaired find it stressful to go shopping, attend social functions, navigate crowds and manage family relationships. And that is just what the holidays are all about. Vision loss will certainly change the experience and may even trigger depression.
It is normal to feel down and sad at times, but if the low mood lasts for more than two weeks, is accompanied by any of the emotional or physical symptoms mentioned below, and is severe enough to disrupt daily life, it may be depression.
- Loss of interest in life or apathy
- Loss of pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt or shame
- Lack of hope
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Insomnia, especially early-morning waking
- Excessive sleep
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Weight gain or weight loss
The physical and emotional pain brought on by depression can affect a person’s work, relationships, and hobbies. It causes problems with concentration and decision-making. Left untreated, depression can get more severe and become life threatening.
Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality trait; it is a medical condition and it is treatable.
Don’t Wait to Seek Help
Depression is not a dirty word and there is no shame in getting help for it. The good news is that it is highly treatable and more than 80% of people get better with medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two.
Visit your primary care doctor to share your screening results and discuss diagnosis and treatment. If you have thoughts of suicide, harming yourself or others, and you are in the United States, call 911 immediately. With treatment, you can feel better and handle life again, even beyond the holidays.
Thanks to Audrey Demmitt for writing this article; Vision Aware for committing its resources to the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text in this article.