Symptomized by persistent sadness, anxiety, feeling ‘empty’, guilt, irritability, restlessness, suicidal feelings, insomnia and oversleep, fatigue, loss of interest and pleasure, poor and/or loss of appetite, depression is a serious medical condition or brain disorder affecting the mind and consequently the body and is much characterized by a significant change in general normal human behavior. Depression is no sign of weakness or a defective character for it affects people of all ages, religions, races and social strata indiscriminately, and it is as real as other fatal medical conditions in the tune of diabetes, hypertension or cancer and can and should be given all the dire attention and treatment (Yapko, 2009).
As earlier said, depression does not discriminate. Regardless of the age, one can have depression. Research has found out that even the small kids and pupils in lower classes of their education can have depression. It has been much said that it is only the older people, maybe those that have families, who can have it. Research is on a contrary opinion for even pupils aged below ten have been found to have depression. As an educator, this has caught me unawares but has also provided lots of answers to questions have had in mind too. For instance, one would wonder why would a teenage student talk of insomnia, loss of appetite with some violent reactions and pull out from peers! This has helped me in identifying depression among my students consequently making me more sensitive to behavioral changes in students and accelerating my ability to help them out of the situation (Yapko, 2009).
Depression is not a fiction, it is a reality and it’s happening at alarming rates. Often, depression has been assumed for a weakness and lack of that psychological/psychiatric or mental strength, not at all! Being depressed does not necessarily mean that one is weak by any way. The hard part that as an educator have discovered with depression is that all the things and remedies one must do to recover and manage depression are made hard to attain and difficult by the symptoms and signs of depression. For instance, eat well, sleep soundly, be active and have realistic and optimistic thoughts maintaining hope. Funny enough, depression brings lots of despair and hopelessness with the typical symptoms being loss of appetite, insomnia, lethargy, and negative pessimistic suicidal thoughts. Excursively, acknowledging how serious depression is and the difficulties for recovery gives a platform for hope (Yapko, 2009).
As an educator, I have prospectively therefore developed a different perception and perspective of depression as a consequence of pileup of stress. The more stress we face the higher the chances of getting depressed though we all have different levels of stress tolerance and response. The stress may pile up as a result of biological, psychological or social factors that we face in our daily life. For instance a child may end up with depression owing to a continued and persistent domestic conflict between their parents (Yapko, 2009).
In a nutshell, the new found knowledge has significantly helped me as an educator to know that even children can get depressed. It can happen to anyone regardless of their age and happens as a pile up of stress in our day to day stressing conditions that we may consider otherwise negligible. In addition, that one is depressed, it does not identify them as weak but once one identifies stress and manages it well, then depression can be handled proactively. As educators, one should look to identify depression and stress in students to avoid misjudgments and misconceptions on students as many of the educators deem such victims of depression as drug abusers and may be evaluate them otherwise, which is very wrong (Yapko, 2009).
Michael Yapko, (2009), Depression Is Contagious: How the Most Common Mood Disorder Is Spreading Around the World and How to Stop It, Simon and Schuster.