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Wearing out your bootstraps? You are not alone.

North Dakotans expect a lot from our bootstraps.

Handling stress. Fixing problems. Farmers and ranchers learn how to troubleshoot challenges. But sometimes life overwhelms us more than even the strongest bootstraps can support. Life is just plain tough sometimes.

Being sad, frustrated or overwhelmed doesn’t mean you are failing. Those feelings are signals, like a “check engine” light. It’s a cue to focus on your wellness, because your health is your most important asset.

When we experience a disappointment or loss, it’s normal to feel sad or discouraged. Normal sadness usually fades as we figure out how to handle the event that caused it and re-involve ourselves in our day-to-day life.

But depression is different. Depression is a medical condition and does not just improve on its own. If a number of the signs/symptoms listed below are present in you or someone you know, and they continue for over two weeks, the person may be experiencing depression and should seek medical care:

  • Feeling sad most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Becoming irritable about abnormal things. Irritability can apply to everyone; men are more likely to show this sign of depression.
  • Unable to stop worrying or overthinking.
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions because of worry.
  • Disinterest in doing things you usually enjoy.
  • Wanting to be alone, isolating yourself.
  • Trouble waking up or falling back asleep because of worrying OR sleeping much more than usual.
  • Feeling tired, lacking energy.
  • Feeling like you can’t control emotions.
  • Being asked by others if something is wrong.
  • Feeling physically ill (stomach upset, trouble eating, headaches, muscle aches).
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide.

It’s not weakness. It’s called being human.

Sometimes people won’t seek help for depression, because they worry what others might think. The fact is this: Even if you feel alone, you aren’t. An estimated 16.2 million adults have had at least one major depressive episode.

Depression is a complex medical condition. Like any medical condition, it requires treatment. The good news: It’s treatable! Since we know that not everyone experiences and handles stress in the same way, we recognize there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to treating depression, stress and anxiety. There are multiple, evidence-tested treatments that can help, ranging from medications to calibrate your brain chemistry to counseling approaches to help you cope with life’s ups and downs.

Bootstraps

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