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Nikki Saito

Writing for College Section 2

Mr. Ryan Smith

17 January 2018

Deep in the Dark: The Crippling Experience of Depression

Section 1: Introduction

800,000. This number represents the average number of deaths due to suicide every year,

approximately one person every 40 seconds. I personally know someone in my life that I am

very close to, that debated on suicide. This is the reason I am researching this topic to become

more aware and more sensitive to how they feel. This eye-opening quote from the Healthy Place,

helped me better understand the topic, "People think depression is sadness, crying or dressing in

black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. You wake up in

the morning just to go back to bed again." Depression is a misunderstood and overlooked mental

disorder. People think that this is a momentary state of sadness, a feeling that everyone feels in a

time of despair. Many don’t understand that depression is a constant feeling of being numb. It

makes you incapable of feeling any emotion, good or bad.

What contributes to depression and how can it be reduced? This disorder develops over

time, usually after a recent loss or a sad event, as well as for no apparent reason at all. As I said

before, there are many reasons for depression to become apart of one’s life; we can do lots to

help those who suffer. However in this paper, I will be discussing three points that I feel are

extremely relevant and vital to my topic: The setting of your educational environment, the

relationships between your family/friends, and the inevitable poor lifestyle choices you make go

hand in hand towards affecting someone with depression.


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Section 2: School Life

School life and educational environment undoubtedly affect someone under depression.

In “Childhood Depression: Rethinking the Role of the School”, Herman points out that “Schools

play a privileged and strategic role in the lives of children acting as their principal environment

from home. Additionally, schools act as part of the community linking families and

neighborhoods. These characteristics make schools a relevant setting for mental health service

delivery and support to children and parents” (Herman). In other words, a persons’ school setting

is equally influential as their dwelling. It is important that every school setting is nurturing and

welcoming in order to promote a safe, learning environment.

Not all of us our as academically gifted as others. With the knowledge that our grades

and educational status as a student will affect our future occupation and overall life situation,

there is a great amount of pressure to perform academically and a fear of failure. Therefore, those

who are not as academically gifted are also not as comfortable in the classroom setting and feel

more pressure when it comes to schoolwork. Often students doubt themselves by thinking that

they are inferior to others and are less expected to succeed. In “Depression: Supporting Students

at School”, Huberty states that “If teachers and peers view a student as not being academically or

socially capable, the risk for depression increases. Similarly, schools can be stressful places for

children who are not successful, which puts them at increased risk for depression” (Huberty).

The way a person feels about themselves is often the way they believe others perceive them as

well. The idea of being subordinate in comparison to your classmates increases the risk for

despondency.

For learners who are already experiencing different levels of depression, it can also lead

to disruptions in the learning environment or if perhaps the root first stemmed from learning,
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then it could lead to even more disruptions relating to school. “Childhood depression acts a

barrier to learning, making teachers less affecting. In school environments that are perceived as

unsupportive or having a negative climate, it may contribute to the development of depression,”

explained Herman in “Childhood Depression: Rethinking the Role of the School”. Those under

depression are in a state of numbness, no longer interested in certain aspects of life and more

indifferent towards other people. Huberty expanded this by stating:

Children who have depression are much more likely than their peers to have

difficulty concentrating, completing assignments, paying attention, participating

in class, achieving at grade level, feeling academically competent, persisting on

tasks, and feeling motivated to perform. Many of these symptoms could easily be

mistaken for behavior problems associated with academic or social difficulties,

such as apathy, low performance, or uncooperativeness. It is important for school

personnel to know the signs so that early identification and intervention can

occur. (Huberty)

Those signs that Huberty stated are only a few of the many visible symptoms you can use to

determine someone under depression, someone in need of a change. It is important that these

signs are noticed and reported to school personnel in order for an intervention to occur. This

situation should be handled in the most professional and understanding way as possible or else it

may just make things worse.

Stress caused by assigned work and upcoming tests is only a fraction of the total amount

of pressure caused by educational institutions. Students also deal with the stress of their ongoing

social status in school and what their student body thinks about who they are as a person, taking

into consideration the values of modern society. If a person does not fit into modern society or
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the school culture, that person will often be left out or lonely. For the rest of their scholastic

career, unless they make a vast change to how they represent themselves, they will be labeled

and left out. People strive for social well-being and professional success. If a person fails to

achieve this, that person can fall into despair, feel deeply sorry for their failures, and, as a result,

become depressed.

As I said before, school life and educational environment undoubtedly affect someone

under depression. Herman pointed out in “Childhood Depression: Rethinking the Role of the

School”, that “Schools have the capacity both to promote academic, social, and emotional

functioning and to potentiate difficulties in these areas of development”. Those under depression

feel like they are not good enough in their own eyes or in the eyes of society. The symptoms of

depression may include a variety of emotional expressions: anxiety, despair and low self-esteem.

A person suffering from depression often experiences constant fatigue and sadness. We must

inform those who are involved with the education force about the importance of their role in their

students’ life. How these educators conduct themselves around their students, the environment

they perform their profession in, and how they react to academic struggles directly affect

someone under depression.

Section 3: Relationships

Family/friends relationships affect depression. In “Social Causes of Depression”, Beattie

states “Socialization is key to maintaining a healthy relationship and feeling well deserved and

part of someone's life. Depression can have an adverse effect on the social capacity of depressed

persons, affecting their social functioning and ability to react and deal with stressful situations”

(Beattie). While dealing with depression, it is vital for that person to have someone in their life

that they have a healthy relationship with. A person who doesn’t see them for their flaws and
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doesn’t make them feel like they are incapable based on who they are. The way we interact with

other people and our interpersonal relations that we share with family members and friends

undoubtedly affect someone under depression.

Humans need friends. Psychologists find that human beings need inclusion in-group life

and for close relationships. Isolation due to not being accepted can lead directly to depression. In

“The Dangers of Loneliness”, Marano points out “When our for social relationships is not met,

we fell apart mentally and even physically.” When one’s social needs are not met, one’s stress

will begin to start leading to depression from the separation. Loneliness is the feeling of not

having anyone. This feeling is completely natural. It can happen while going through life

problems, such as a breakup with a friend or a lover, a shift in environment, or anything that

happens causing the feeling of separation. Loneliness becomes a problem when it starts leading

to depression. Humans need interaction; it is how humans are wired. If those under depression

don’t have friends in the first place, then that is even worse. Humans all need a certain amount of

interaction or it will start to affect a mental and physical side. Depression and loneliness is a

mental and physical battle. When someone does not meet their need for social interaction the

body begins to fall apart. The stress causes eroding arteries, which creates high blood pressure. It

can also cause brain problems, preventing the ability to learn.

Socializing is key when feeling depressed, it a necessity to tell someone. That will cause

them to either shy away or be more affectionate. When someone doesn't tell the other person

about their depression the other person won’t know and may cause the depressed person to snap.

Making the other person back off may also cause more depression. They need the constant

reassurance that they are loved and cared about. It is vital for the family of the depressed

individual to know that this person is fighting depression.


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Depressed parents can cause a depression in their children. Beattie says “One could argue

that out of all the interpersonal cases that can contribute on the onset of a depressive disorder, the

ambiance of a family has the most weight and impact on a depressed individual” (Beattie).

Although friendships have a great effect on those under depression, your family has arguably the

most impact. Being around your family for a majority of your life, it is inevitable to be majorly

affected by who they are and the course of their overall life. Beattie claims that “In 30% of all

marriage problems, there is one spouse that can be described as clinically depressed. The reason

why a spouse might have a unipolar mood disorder could be due to their relationship being

"characterized by friction, hostility, and a lack of affection” (Beattie). Relationships between you

and your spouse have the power to determine the state of mind for the whole family including

their children. When parents fight and argue around their children the child may think that it is

their fault. The child blames himself causing him to become depressed. Any changes in the

family environment due to parental depression increase the risk of developing a mood disorder

for their child. This can also happen the other way around, the child can cause depression to the

parent. If the child is not doing well in school or causes a lot of trouble that can lead the parent to

become depressed. This will be a never-ending cycle till the parent gets help.

As I said earlier, it is vital to have a healthy relationship with someone in a depressed

person’s life. A person who doesn’t see them for their flaws and doesn’t make them feel like they

are incapable based on who they are. Beattie points out the discrimination towards those who

identify as females. He says “There are a lot of interpersonal relations when it comes to gender,

… girls can face increased expectation to conform to the standards set forth by society, to pursue

feminine type activities and occupations” (Beattie). The gender role plays a huge part in

depression due to the social discrimination. They have to conform to the standards of society. If a
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woman does not look up to the standards they are often looked down upon. They may also

become depressed because they don’t look like what they want to look like. They will not like

there body and will become depressed because they want the acceptance from others. Beattie

also calls attention the gender discrimination in the academic setting by noting that “It appears

that parents tend to have “lower expectations” for girls when it comes to school. As a result of

that lowered expectations, parents tend to not push their daughters toward a high-profile job,

instead of attempting to make their daughter conform to the stereotype of society, like becoming

a teacher or a nurse” (Beattie). Another thing that women have to deal with is the expectations

that are set for them. Due to being labeled by society, a depressed person can exhibit a lack of

low self-esteem due to their negative outlook. This leads to becoming more sensitive to the

opinion of others and most importantly, becoming less physically active. Those under depression

will most likely not have the motivation to exert themselves and go out into social environments.

This relates not only to women but to all stereotypes. Stereotypes including ethnicity, religion,

sexuality, disabilities, etc. If one were to associate with a positive group of people, one may not

feel as depressed then someone who has to deal with people who look down at them and not

show them acceptance. The group of people you associate with and how they see you as a person

reflects often how you feel about yourself. Often if people do not consider that they are good

enough this leads to depression.

Section 4: Poor Lifestyle Choices

Poor lifestyle choices can lead to depression. These choices include partaking in drugs,

overuse of alcohol, inadequate amount of rest for your body to function, and knowingly doing an

immoral act. Say someone decided to skip school, a very important day, and that person ends up

failing the class and also gets in trouble with their principal. They will become depressed and
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often angry at themselves for screwing up. That person starts to lose confidence in themselves

and they start to doubt themselves. Engaging in these deeds can deepen your state of depression,

however small it seems to be. People who seem more depressed are more often than not going to

make decisions that do not benefit their interests and consequently further develop their disorder.

Throughout the day, stress exists everywhere. There are a variety of responses to stress,

some may tackle the task to feel better while some may turn to temporary “relaxer” to feel better.

Under stress, people often show the same symptoms as a person under depression. Stress and

depression are related emotions and are both toxic. In “Stress and Addiction”, Sahley points out

that “When patients were asked why they became involved, then overwhelmed with alcohol or

some other drug, the response was some variation of "to feel better" or to deal with life”

(Sahley). Sometimes depression will lead to bad choices such as drugs. When a person is

depressed that person will often turn to drugs to get their mind off the subject that they are

unhappy about. The distraction is only short-term but leads to long-term problems down the

road. Those under stress may try temporary “relaxers” to feel better, however, it is only

temporary and when it is over, people often feel worse.

Often those who are depressed do not use this “temporary relaxer” only once. Suddenly it

becomes a daily routine that becomes addicting and hard to quit. Sahley stated that “The myth is

stress may lead to addiction, but addiction intensifies stress and anxiety. The tension and stress

they have to unwind from are, in fact, a withdrawal symptom that happens when a person goes

24 hours without alcohol or drugs that their brain craves” (Sahley). People often find relaxation

while using nicotine, but when depression keeps building up they find themselves using nicotine

again and again. Each time they feed nicotine into their bodies, they become more attached to it

feel a need to use it not to as a distraction but just to get through the day. People with depression
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problems find it harder to quit nicotine, depression can cause a person to crave and often push

them to smoke more. Depression is measured with the BDI-III and it shows that the people with

more nicotine urge often tend to be the most depressed. Often those depressed think that using

nicotine will be a one-time thing that will help them take their minds off their misery but in

reality, they become addicted to nicotine and fall into a more serious condition of despondency

and dejection. Although there are more healthy ways of dealing with depression a lot of people

turn to drugs, alcohol or nicotine which directly affects our health as well.

Our immune system must be fed needed nutrients in order to keep the mind and body

functioning in a normal range. When people put drugs into their immune system, they are hurting

themselves. Sahley claims that “Poor nutrition, without the intake of needed nutrients and amino

acids, can shut down your system completely. As a result, the person’s kidneys will stop

filtering, the stomach will stop digesting, adrenals will stop secreting and other organs will

follow” (Sahley). Making the wrong decisions as a depressed person lead to even more problems

and cause additional stress. Putting these drugs into your system causes health problems and

make it harder for your body to function. Drugs can cause or worsen health conditions like

cancer, heart disease, lung disease, liver function, mental disorders, and infectious diseases. It

depends on your body whether these conditions develop after using drugs at high doses or rather

a one time use. The feeling of your failing organs will create more pain in your physical state and

is detrimental to your spiritual state as well.

Wrong decisions go both ways. By that, I mean that bad decisions can deepen depression

as well as be the source of it. People don’t need to do drugs to cure depression. Knowing the

negative effects from using drugs, Sahley says “You should take a long hard look at what you

drink and how often, and your use of recreational and prescription drugs to escape stress or
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burnout.” Today, young adults are able to obtain nicotine easily, we are targeted by the

advertisement from nicotine related companies. As future leaders of our society, we must

recognize how our decisions affect ourselves and our future children. If one is often depressed,

working with one’s depression is the most effective treatment. Rather than smoking, activities

such as exercise, hanging with friends, and doing things to lighten the mood can often decrease

depression. Dealing with depression is tough, however, if we truly consider our decisions and

strive to commit choices that benefit our interests, then we are more likely to achieve happiness.

Section 5: Conclusion

What contributes to depression and how can it be reduced? As I said at the beginning of

this paper, there are many reasons for depression to become apart of one’s life; we can do lots to

help those who suffer. However in this paper, I will be discussing three points that I feel are

extremely relevant and vital to my topic: The setting of your educational environment, the

relationships between your family/friends, and the inevitable poor lifestyle choices you make go

hand in hand towards affecting someone with depression.

Throughout this paper, I have listed and explained possible reasons for a person to

become depressed. These reasons for their disorder can help you better understand what the

person is going through and more importantly, think of a better approach to how you are going to

help them. You never know who is going through depression. The reason I chose this topic was

that there is someone in my life that is currently and has been dealing with depression for a while

now. I had grown up with this person, I have lived in the room right next to theirs for sixteen

years and counting. Growing up, we were never the best of buds, we were constantly fighting

over the smallest complications. We have gone through periods where we have not talked like

most siblings have. Despite all of our disagreements, it breaks my heart that my brother is going
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through this. You never really understand how common and widespread depression is until

someone you care about is going through it. The most important thing that matters is the person

going through it, that they know that they are loved, needed, and most importantly wanted. It

hurts to imagine my life without my brother, even though we had times where we didn’t get

along, he is still an huge part of my life and I know he is for others as well. My family and I

would have been heartbroken, especially my parents. Together it is prominent we unite and

prevent as many suicides due to depression, to make it aware that there is always a better option

for our children and their family.

Works Cited

Beattie, Gregory. "Social Causes of Depression." Great Ideas in Personality--Theory and

Research. Rochester Institute of Technology, Nov. 2005. Accessed 17 Nov. 2017.

Herman, Keith C., et al. "Childhood Depression: Rethinking the Role of the School." Psychology

in the Schools, vol. 46, no. 5, 01 May 2009, pp. 433-446. EBSCOhost.

Huberty, Thomas. "“Depression: Supporting Students at School.”." 2010, National Association

of School Psychologists, 2010, Accessed 22 Sept. 2017.

Leykin, Yan, et al. "Decision-Making and Depressive Symptomatology." Cognitive Therapy &

Research, vol. 35, no. 4, Aug. 2011, pp. 333-341. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10608-010-

9308-0.

Marano, Hara Estroff. “The Dangers of Loneliness.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 1

July 2003. Accessed 1 November 2017.

Reid, Holly H. and David M. Ledgerwood. "Depressive Symptoms Affect Changes in Nicotine

Withdrawal and Smoking Urges throughout Smoking Cessation Treatment: Preliminary


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Results." Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 24, no. 1, Feb. 2016, pp. 48-53.

EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/16066359.2015.1060967.

Sahley, Billie J. "Stress and Addiction." MMRC Health Educator Reports, Jan. 2007, pp. 1-

2.EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=awh&AN=31852950&s

ite=ehost-live.

Smirnova, E. A., and A. V. Andreeva. "Depression Among Students." 2016. PDF.