Personal Narrative Assignment: Major Depressive Disorder

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Prior Knowledge

The prior knowledge I have with Major Depressive Disorder is that this disorder is a mood disorder that creates an everlasting feeling of sadness. Most people who are diagnosed with this disorder live normal lives like those around them, but lack motivation in everyday tasks. Some of these tasks may include things like getting out of bed, cleaning, or going to work/school. I believe this disorder is more common than many people may realize, but also more self-diagnosed than professionally. This disorder is usually treated by both therapy and a possible doctor prescribed anti-depressant drug. I also believe that symptoms of depression are emotions that many people feel daily, so this disorder must be difficult to diagnose.

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 Research

Five main criteria hold the answer to whether one will be diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), and in order to be diagnosed, the patient being observed must meet one or more of the criteria listed in the (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5). While researching, I was very interested to find attempt of suicide in women is higher than in men, but completion of suicide is higher in men than women (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5). In summary, there are five criteria (A-E) that determine whether or not one may be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and five or more of the symptoms must be recognizable within the same two-week period, including either a depressed mood, OR a loss of interest/pleasure. The symptoms of major depressive disorder eventually lead to anguish and halt of important functions of the brain/body and include:

  1. depressed mood
  2. loss of interest and pleasure
  3. noticeable weight loss
  4. insomnia/hypersomnia
  5. low attention span
  6. loss of energy
  7. feeling of uselessness or being unwanted
  8. extreme indecisiveness
  9.  thoughts of taking their own life or self-harm.

These criteria also regulate whether the disorder has been formed due to alcohol or drug abuse, medical conditions, or previously prescribed medications, and also guarantee that the depressive episodes are unrelated to other forms of psychotic or schizophrenic disorders. The last criteria, criteria “E” ensures that no manic or hypomanic episodes have ever occurred within the patient’s lifetime. Ensuring that no manic/hypomanic episodes have occurred allows the clinical evaluation to recognize whether to diagnose a patient with MDD, or with another disorder (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5).

Major Depressive Disorder’s main cause is still unknown, however, MDD can be provoked by substance abuse, or simply formed medical conditions. This disorder does possess treatment options including antidepressant medications, psychotherapy (talk therapy), and even small lifestyle changes such as exercise, increased sleep, and change in eating habits may lower someone dealing with MDD symptoms. 

While conducting my research, I was very interested to learn that women lead as carriers of this disorder with a percentage of about twenty to twenty six percent, while men follow behind with a percentage between eight to twelve percent. This statistic was acquired from an article posted to an online mental health information website (Lieber, A., MD. (2018, February 14). What is Major Depression? The Signs, Symptoms & Treatment. Retrieved November 06, 2018, from https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.major.html.) 

Cancer patients tend to have one of the highest percentages of diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, one third of people dealing with HIV and heart attack survivors also are some of the main groups of people tending to the disorder. Recently, the National Institute of Health released that about eighty percent of patients that pursued treatment reveal improvement in their everyday symptoms of MDD which thoroughly interested me and shows that there is hope for those with major depressive disorder. 

The fact I found in this article that was most surprising to me was that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of major depressive disorder that occurs due to the time of the year. I never took into consideration that one’s mood may be dramatically affected by a weather/seasonal change due to a lack of light throughout the day. Luckily, this category of MDD can be treated with light therapy alone but is more affective with both light therapy and counseling. Along with seasonal affective disorder, most categories of MDD can be treated through multiple different treatment options.

Narrative

Beep beep beep, SLAM, this is how my morning begins EVERY morning. The daily contemplating of “should I skip my 11 a.m. class this morning?” arises, and nine times out of ten I end up not attending. I’ve always had it pretty easy in school, never really had to study or put in any extra time or effort, so why would I start now? School is not something I look forward to anymore, which is ironic because paying for college should be an incentive for me to at least attend my classes. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not signing up for night classes instead of these early morning 11 a.m. classes. I say early morning because I barely sleep anymore, my nights consist of me tossing and turning in bed from around ten thirty to about one o’clock in the morning.

 I eventually get up quietly and go sit in the library until my eyes physically can’t stare at my laptop screen anymore. So yes, 11 a.m. feels like the crack of dawn to me. My roommate won’t wake me up either, because she thinks I have some type of hatred towards her since my attitude is always so “sour” as she would say. I can feel myself being snappy with her sometimes, but I just can’t help it for some reason. It’s been like this with everyone who has been around me recently and I don’t know why or how to fix it. I received a scholarship for cheerleading, and that’s why I am at NC State, I used to love it and enjoy cheering on my school’s teams, but now I dread going to practices and being around people who are supposed to smile and be cheerful all of the time.

 I used to envy the other girls on the team because of how tiny they were, and how they could eat like pigs and gain no weight, but now I’m on the other end of that, and cannot figure out how to gain back the weight I need terribly. I lost this weight after experiencing suicidal episodes leading me to feel so terrible about myself that I would frequently binge and end up vomiting everything back up later on that night. My doctor told me I have lost too much weight too fast, twenty pounds in the past two and a half months to be exact.

 She also noticed my drowsiness at my yearly check-up, and I told her about how I’ve been feeling since I started school. She recommended me to the therapist on campus, and I have been seeing her twice a week for the past month. He helps me a lot, and recently diagnosed me with major depressive disorder. He explained to me that the reason I have been experiencing insomnia, fatigue, dramatic weight loss, depressed mood, and thoughts of suicide is due to this disorder that I have. 

My suicidal thoughts have decreased dramatically, and for that I am so thankful. I just wish that somewhere in this endless hopelessness that there will be a light that promises that one day I won’t feel this way anymore. My therapist reassures me that if I continue to seek treatment through him or others, that I will eventually feel joy again. However, I am trying to learn to not let my disorder define me, determine how my days will be, and to develop a sense of happiness. This is not easy, but it is possible. I feel that seeking the professional help that I am will allow me to become the person I once was again, and I can’t wait to meet her. My disorder is NOT who I am, I will continue to fight it until I reach joy.

Reflection

Revising my prior knowledge about major depressive disorder, I have learned that I lacked knowledge about this disorder tremendously. Through my research and prior knowledge, I must note that those dealing with major depressive disorder are still humans and are NOT their disorder. I did not know that one must experience fiver or more symptoms at once, including depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure. I cannot imagine feeling so many of these symptoms at once, and hope those who do seek treatment.

 This disorder impacts so many people’s everyday lives, and some people cannot get rid of it. My feelings about this disorder did not change much, since one of my relatives deals with MDD daily, but the statistics on how effective treatment is for MDD definitely shaped my beliefs on whether they should seek professional help or not. My beliefs now on seeking treatment for this disorder grew immensely, and I wish that treatment was more obtainable for all people who may have major depressive disorder.

 I think that colleges should constantly remind students, faculty, and staff that the on-campus mental health providers are readily available, and strongly encourage students to seek their help. The idea arose to me while researching this disorder that colleges and work environments should do check-ins on their students/employees, to ensure they’re not experiencing any of these symptoms that may affect how they live their everyday lives. Mental health is such an important aspect of health in general, and I wish it was more recognized. 

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Personal Narrative Assignment: Major Depressive Disorder. (2021, Nov 29). Retrieved October 3, 2022 , from
https://studydriver.com/personal-narrative-assignment-major-depressive-disorder/

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