Depression in the Brain: the Biology of Depression

Most of us have some sense of what depression is, at least in terms of the symptoms. For me it feels like somebody jammed a syringe into my head, that releases a dark cloud over my mind, casting everything through an overly negative and pessimistic lens. The relentless, anxious, worrying, second guessing everything. But what does depression really look like, biologically speaking?

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Why #BellLetsTalk Matters

by participating in the Bell Let’s Talk conversation and sharing our stories, it’s effectively the critical first step we need to take in getting the help we need.

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Over the last two years, I’ve noticed loads of factors can impact my mood, whether that’s circumstances in my relationships or career, the changing seasons, or factors such as lifestyle or exercise or daily nutrition. In other words, I think it’s important to reflect on any changes in my mood, thinking patterns or behavior, so that I can more critically ascertain the actual causes of these changes.

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Study after study seems to link sugar consumption with an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). But I’m curious, what kind of impact does sugar have on our mental health? I really want to know what is sugar doing to our brains? And can we blame our depression on the irresistible sweet stuff?

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Seasonally SAD: The Science of the Winter Blues

As the temperature drops, so will many our moods and energy levels. It’s often called the “winter blues”, or seasonal affective disorder (or “SAD”)? If you find yourself maybe a little less motivated or have difficulty getting up in the morning, you could have a case of this insidious kind of depression.

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The Stigma Strikes Back

The black-and-white stereotypes – that we’re weak and unreliable, or that we’re making up our conditions for attention or to take advantage of health insurance benefits – are so deeply embedded in national government policies, they trickle down into the ideologies of the rest of us.

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To Medicate or Not to Medicate…

I’ll admit I was reticent. What if they took weeks to start working? What if they didn’t, or they gave me migraine headaches, explosive diarrhea, suicidal thoughts or brain cancer? My psychiatrist promised she would monitor any unforeseen side effects during our weekly therapy sessions. The best part of all: I’d know if my pills worked within days, which was good, because I didn’t have time for a meltdown.

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Diagnosis Dilemma

getting an accurate diagnosis isn’t normally an easy process. We’ve learned not to open up about this stuff in fear we’ll be rejected, ostracized or not taken seriously. Even if we do, getting access to mental health professionals can be incredibly difficult and frustrating

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Not to be a Negative Nancy, but there isn’t a universal life hack for predicting if and when a traumatic life event might trigger a case of situational depression, despite what buzzfeed might tell you otherwise.

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I was a bit of a Hermione Granger keener through most of high school. Like that Gryffindor know-it-all, I had the answers to everything, to which my 90-plus grades can attest. Maybe you’re wondering what this has to do with depression? Nothing, actually. Hermione Granger’s are too destined for greatness and just don’t have the time for depression.

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