Dealing with Depression: Support and Education Helps to Combat this Illness


CULLMAN – According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn't worth living.


“Depression is both a challenge and learning experience, to say the least,” explained Allan Samp, who has suffered from bouts of depression most of his adult life. “Clinical depression can affect overall function and sometimes personal hygiene becomes a chore. This is not the depression you get from making a bad grade or losing a football game.”


Depression and the depressive phase of bipolar disorder should be taken seriously. These disorders strike all walks of life. They are often undetected by others, and are usually masked.


The signs and symptoms of depression are as follows:


  •  Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  •  Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Anger or irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • Self-loathing
  • Reckless behavior
  • Concentration problems
  • Unexplained aches and pains


People have suicidal thoughts in extreme episodes. If you suffer from suicidal thoughts, get help immediately. Call a family member or a friend. If you are uncomfortable talking with them, you can call a suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Most often, the people at the hotline are trained and can talk a person through these feelings and offer guidance and encouragement.


 “Choose something that helps your spirit,” Samp suggested. “I chose martial arts, but foremost I have my dogs. I can count on them every single time to be there. Even on my worst days, they are there for me. Find whatever works for you.”


If you have been diagnosed with depression, keep your chin up. With the proper doctor and medication, people with depression are able to live long pleasant lives. 


“Deal with it and live a productive life,” Samp explained. “Just take your prescription as told and be patient, because being treated is different than getting your arm X-rayed, it takes time,” he smiled. “Since being diagnosed I have received a college degree and have won several martial arts competitions while being on my meds. Stay in touch with your doctor and forecast.”  


Dealing with depression can be tough, and people who are fighting depression need all the help they can get. Remember, depression is an illness, so if you have been diagnosed with it, don’t deny there’s a problem – deal with it. The key to managing and overcoming this illness is understanding, support and education.


If you feel you need help with your depression, Mental Healthcare of Cullman would be a great place to start. They offer a wide range of health services, including outcome based therapy, psychiatry, on-site primary care, addiction treatment and in-home services. You may call them at 256-734-4688 or visit their website at