Hesperian Health Guides

Depression (extreme sadness or feeling nothing at all)

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HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 13: Growing older with a disability > Depression (extreme sadness or feeling nothing at all)


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Some people start to feel unhappy and depressed as they grow older. This is often because of loneliness, changes in health, or not being able to do as much as they used to. Some women with disabilities who suffer from low self-esteem may feel even more lonely and depressed as they grow older.

Some of the signs of depression are:

  • feeling sad most of the time
  • difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities, eating, or sex
  • physical problems, such as headaches or intestinal
    problems, that are not caused by illness
  • slow speech and movement
  • lack of energy for daily activities
  • thinking about death or suicide
What to do to help prevent depression

Try to stay as active as possible, to exercise, and to eat well. Above all, try not to be alone too much. Help take care of younger children in your community. Meet with other older women with disabilities to talk and to pass time together. If you are often feeling sad or are unable to sleep, talk to someone in your family you trust or with a health worker. For more information about mental health, see Chapter 3.