Hunter Kent, a senior at Cape Elizabeth High School, spent many of her teen years battling depression, a devastating condition that is often easy to hide and difficult to acknowledge. She courageously shares her profound journey from despair to peace, and how she now uses her past suffering to connect and empathize with her fellow students in need of encouragement and hope.Holly Hunter wrote:It was really hard to get out of bed in the morning. I just wanted to hide under the covers and not talk to anyone. I didn't feel much like eating and I lost a lot of weight. Nothing seemed fun anymore. I was tired all the time, and I wasn't sleeping well at night. It just felt so impossible, like nothing was going to change or get better.
Depression is a serious medical illness; it's more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. Depressive disorders are common: they affect an estimated 9.5 percent of adult Americans in a given year, or about 20.9 million people. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who have depression.
If you are in a crisis situation, call 911 or the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Signs and Symptoms of Depression may include:
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating, or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.