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WHAT DOES DEPRESSION FEEL LIKE?

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October 6, 2023 – It’s common to feel turned upside down whenever something unexpected happens in our lives or because the state of the world is … well, not so great. When this occurs, we may often attribute our lingering sense of doom and dread to depression.

Diagnoses of depression have been on an upward trend, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, with nearly all populations experiencing increases in depression. In The Bahamas, many persons suffered post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression following the double impacts of Hurricane Dorian and the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020 alone, depression wascommon among nearly 1 in 10 Americans and almost 1 in 5 adolescents and young adults (ages 18 to 25).

COVID-19 not-withstanding, current numbers reflect 5% of Americans over the age of 18 self-report regularly having feelings of depression — but what does depression really feel like? And how do you know if you’re depressed or just temporarily weighed down by everything that’s happening around you?

Clinical Psychologist at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio Dawn Potter, PsyD, explains in detail what sets depression apart from common sadness and when it’s important to reach out for help.

How depression really feels 

Depression is often characterized as “deep sadness” — but it’s actually a complex condition that’s about more than just feeling sad.

Everybody feels sad and it’s normal to feel sad sometimes. But there are a couple of differences between depression and sadness,” clarifies Dr. Potter. “One thing that sets them apart is how often it is and how long it lasts. But another is that depression comes with a whole bunch of other symptoms that are beyond the feeling of sadness. We don’t diagnose depression based on just a subjective sense of feeling sad alone.”

To receive a diagnosis of clinical depression (major depressive disorder), you would typically experience a consistent and persistent depressed mood or loss of interest in things you enjoy and/or in your day-to-day activities along with at least three or more of thefollowing symptoms for a minimum of two weeks. If you do not have both depressed mood and loss of interest, you must have four of the other symptoms:

  • Sleep disturbances, like sleeping too much or too little.
  • Low energy or fatigue.
  • Excessive feelings of guilt, shame or self-blame when it’s not warranted.
  • Difficulty concentrating or focusing.
  • Psychomotor agitation (like observable fidgeting, restlessness, pacing or difficulty sitting still) or psychomotor slowing (like reduced cognitive thinking, decreased movement and slower speech than you’re used to).
  • An increase or decrease in your appetite that may result in weight gain or weight loss.
  • Thoughts of suicide or recurring thoughts of death.

“Depression is very physiological,” says Dr. Potter. “Depression is more than feeling sad, and a person doesn’t necessarily have to feel sad to be depressed. Depression can sometimes feel like the absence of something rather than the presence of sadness.”

It’s a whole-body experience that affects your physical, mental and emotional health. If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You see the world through rose-colored glasses,” depression, says Dr. Potter, is like viewing the world through gray- or blue-colored glasses.

“With depression, you really only see the negative side of things,” she says. “Depression can cause us to have disturbances in our evaluations of ourselves and other people and it can lead us to make persistent, negative attributions about our self-worth.”

For example, someone without depression may get a bad grade on a test and think to themselves, How did I get here and how can I do better next time? They might then take the necessary steps to study more or plan more efficiently for the next exam. But someone with depression may internalize their feelings and attribute the result of their exam to having been a failure.

“It’s persistent, it’s internal and it forces you to put blinders on,” explains Dr. Potter. “It’s thinking, I’m going to fail at everything, rather than being situational, and that’s what keeps people depressed — that negative thinking.”

But solving depression isn’t always as simple as getting out of the loop of negative self-talk. For some, depression can make everything feel more difficult. You can feel like things are out of control or that you can’t focus on anything meaningful. You might feel weighed down by ruminating thoughts or feel stuck in a fog.

“For someone who’s depressed, it can be hard to take back agency in your life and you can often lose sight of the ability to do things for yourself,” notes Dr. Potter. “That’s why we suggest therapy because it can help you can find a way to do things differently and manage your symptoms if you’re given enough support and information.”

Do symptoms vary by severity? 

Some people may experience depression for shorter periods of time that seem to come and go (as tends to be the case with seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder). That’s not to say symptoms of seasonal depression are any less severe than other types. But some people can experience symptoms of depression for prolonged extended periods of time. And the longer depression goes undiagnosed, the more severe it can become.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a form of chronic depression in which you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day on most days for two or more years. Sometimes, a major depressive episode can also occur as a result of having other mental health conditions. People who are more susceptible to experiencing depression may be diagnosed with:

In the most severe cases of depression, people may also experience elements of psychosis, a collection of symptoms that include hallucinations or delusions.

“People often self-report having anxiety and depression and we know those can coexist,” says Dr. Potter. “People with generalized anxiety disorder can be vulnerable to depression because they get exhausted from being worried all the time. And people who have experienced traumatic events or losses can also become depressed.”

When to reach out for help 

If you’re checking at least five of the boxes on symptoms of depression, it may be time to talk to a healthcare provider about getting a diagnosis for depression. And if you experience any suicidal thoughts, it’s important that you seek help from a medical professional immediately who can offer relief and assistance.

But even if you only experience a handful of symptoms or you have a baseline concern for your mental health and/or physical well-being, seeing a healthcare provider about your concerns can be beneficial.

“Even if you’re having less than five of these symptoms but you’re really having trouble with your day-to-day activities and things are feeling a lot more difficult for you to do than they normally would, or what you’re feeling is really bothering you consistently, asking for help can be an important decision to make,” stresses Dr. Potter.

“Because a lot of the symptoms have physical components to them, a healthcare provider might want to rule out other health problems or mental health conditions that could be contributing to your symptoms.”

Other resources for depression 

For anyone in need of additional assistance, these resources can be helpful in answering any questions you have and/or help you find a therapist no matter where you are with your mental health:

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline: (242)322-2763 or (242) 422-2763 (also known as theNational Hotline for Crisis Intervention)
  • The Community Counselling and Assessment Centre at Sandilands at (242) 323-3293/5.
  • Domestic Violence Hotline – (242) 376-3538
  • Domestic Violence and Counselling and Tips Unit – (242) 604-4300

“If you’re demotivated, feeling flat, empty or meaningless, you might have depression,” reiterates Dr. Potter. “You don’t want to self-diagnose, but if you recognize having any of these feelings, it’s time to talk to somebody.”

Caribbean News

PRIME MINISTER OF THE BAHAMAS CALLS FOR COLLABORATION AT CANTO 24  

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The Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas.

MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – Prime Minister Philip Davis of The Bahamas delivered a compelling keynote address at CANTO’s 39th annual Conference and Tradeshow Exhibition, sponsored by C&W Communications. He called for Caribbean leaders to unite in leveraging digital innovation for regional progress.

PM Davis was welcomed to the podium by Inge Smidts, CEO of C&W Communications, who provided brief remarks opening the day’s activities. Smidts shared C&W’s efforts in leading digital innovation and connectivity solutions and also in bridging the digital divide and fostering digital inclusion across the region.

The Prime Minister began by asking for a moment of solidarity following Hurricane Beryl’s destruction in Grenada, Barbados, St. Vincent, the Windward Islands, and Jamaica. A number of delegates from the affected countries were unable to attend as they continue to work through restoration efforts. Davis recalled his country’s experience noting, “The Bahamas remembers Dorian’s fury all too well. Our hearts and prayers go out to our Caribbean brothers, and sisters and may those affected find strength and may the coming months be calmer than forecasts predict.”

The Prime Minister highlighted the region’s technological evolution, citing The Bahamas’ implementation of e-government platforms for citizen services, and the introduction of its Sand Dollar e-currency. He stressed the importance of digital skills education to ensure widespread technological literacy and prevent marginalization.

PM Davis also emphasized a number of challenges facing the region. He noted that education and training in digital skills was critical in ensuring people across the Caribbean are not left behind. “It is clear that technology is a powerful tool for progress and economic growth, however the true potential of this tool can only be realized if our citizens are equipped with the knowledge and skills to use if effectively. The biggest missed opportunity we face is having advanced technology at our disposal but lacking the widespread literacy to leverage it fully,” Davis continued.

Addressing the transformative power of technology, PM Davis said: “Technology is not merely a tool for economic growth, it is a powerful catalyst for social change. Our focus should be on how these innovations can enhance the quality of life for out citizens, bridging the gaps and opening opportunities that were previously unimaginable.”

C&W Communications through its charitable foundation, the CWCF has launched its JUMP social assistance program in response to this. Currently the JUMP program, launched in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, and St. Lucia provides opportunities to scores of families who would not ordinarily be able to internet access.

Through a public private partnership with the Cable & Wireless Charitable Foundation and governments in the region, the most vulnerable customers are able to benefit from subsidized internet access, a free laptop and eight weeks of digital skills training for the entire household. The JUMP program is set to be officially launched in August in The Bahamas.

The address concluded with the Prime Minister congratulating CANTO on its 39th birthday, officially announcing The Bahamas as the host for CANTO’s 40th Conference in 2025, marking a significant milestone for the organization and the region’s commitment to digital advancement.

Over 600 persons are attending the Annual Tradeshow and Exhibition which runs from July 7-10 at the JW Marriott Hotel in Miami, Florida. C&W Communications once again serving as headline sponsor for the event.

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Caribbean News

C&W Communications committed to rebuilding after storms  

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Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer, C&W Communications.

MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – As the region continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, leading telecoms provider C&W Communications has reaffirmed its commitment to work alongside impacted communities.

Hurricane Beryl recently caused devastating damage in several Caribbean islands, and storms of a similar magnitude to the unusually fierce early season hurricane are expected to become more common.

“We have always believed that our role extends beyond providing telecommunications services. We are a lifeline, a vital link that keeps people connected to their loved ones, to emergency services, and to the information they need in times of crisis,” said Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer, C&W Communications.

“I had the profound experience of visiting several of the islands that were hardest hit. The destruction is immense, with homes, businesses, and vital infrastructure severely damaged or destroyed. However, what stood out most was the incredible resilience and spirit of the people, so our commitment to the Caribbean must go beyond connectivity.”

Smidts was speaking at CANTO’s ongoing 39th Annual Trade Exhibition and Conference in Miami.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Towards a Sustainable Digital Economy’ and C&W Communications, the operators of Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business, and BTC, has returned as the headline sponsor for the region’s premier telecoms conference.

“This is an opportunity for us to act as a catalyst for change, and I urge all regional telecom stakeholders to join us in supporting our impacted communities. This is our moment, and together, we can leverage our resources, expertise, and networks to provide much-needed relief and support,” added Smidts.

“Let us collaborate to develop innovative solutions that can withstand the challenges of natural disasters and ensure the sustainability of our digital economy – one that is resilient, inclusive, and prepared for the future.”

The annual event brings together regional heads of state and government, along with regulators, telecom operators, and other key stakeholders to network, build alliances, review policy, and share best practices as it relates to the regional telecoms sector.

C&W Communications will host several discussions and events during the conference to shine the spotlight on important industry topics including digital sustainability and education, cybersecurity in the digital era, sustainable infrastructure development, investment challenges in digital sustainability, strategies for equitable access to broadband services, and empowering an inclusive digital economy.

Featured company speakers include Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer; Kerry Scott, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, Liberty Latin America (the parent company of C&W Communications); John Winter, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, LLA; Sameer Bhatti, Chief Executive Officer, Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC); Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, Business Markets; and Sebastian Kaplan, Vice President-Government Affairs, Liberty Latin America; and many others.

CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies, and individuals primarily focused on leading the information and communications technology (ICT) sector across the Caribbean region and the Americas.

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Caribbean News

Telecoms and Climate Change in the spotlight at CANTO

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MIAMI, Florida (July 8th, 2024) – Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Beryl in the Caribbean, the critical importance of robust telecommunications infrastructure and reliable data access was brought into sharp focus at the opening of CANTO’s 39th Annual Trade Exhibition and Conference in Miami.

Daryl Vaz

“The Caribbean is on the front lines of the global climate crisis, facing significant and immediate impacts that threaten the region’s environment, economy, and way of life. The Caribbean’s resilience and adaptive capacity are vital in the face of climate change, and it is imperative that we take proactive and coordinated action,” said Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport.

Vaz delivered the feature address at CANTO’s opening ceremony on Sunday days after Beryl made landfall in Jamaica.

“Resilience and adaptive capacity are vital in the face of climate change. By embracing innovative solutions, fostering collaboration, and committing to sustainable practices, we can safeguard our islands for future generations. If we really want to survive and thrive, the time for talk is over and now is the time for action. We must walk the walk,” he said.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Towards a Sustainable Digital Economy’ and C&W Communications, the operators of Flow, Flow Business, C&W Business, and BTC, has returned as the headline sponsor for the region’s premier telecoms conference.

“As we gather in the wake of Hurricane Beryl, we are reminded of the immense challenges that natural disasters pose to our region, but also of the resilience and solidarity that define the Caribbean spirit,” said Marilyn Sealy, Senior Director, Head of Communications, C&W Communications.

“We are proud to be a part of an industry that provides the backbone for growth and innovation, and we remain committed to supporting the region, and at the same time the critical work that CANTO has undertaken over the years.”

The annual event brings together regional heads of state and government, along with regulators, telecom operators, and other key stakeholders to network, build alliances, review policy, and share best practices as it relates to the regional telecoms sector.

“As a leading provider of digital connectivity solutions across the region, this year’s theme resonates deeply with the core values and mission of C&W Communications,” added Sealy.

Marilyn Sealy

“We recognize the transformational role that technology plays in driving sustainable development, social inclusion, and economic growth, and it is our firm belief that by leveraging the power of connectivity, we can unlock new possibilities and create a brighter future for all.”

C&W Communications specifically will host several discussions and events during the conference to shine the spotlight important industry topics including digital sustainability and education, cybersecurity in the digital era, sustainable infrastructure development, investment challenges in digital sustainability, strategies for equitable access to broadband services, and empowering an inclusive digital economy.

Featured company speakers include Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer; Kerry Scott, Senior Vice President, Chief People Officer, Liberty Latin America (the parent company of C&W Communications); John Winter, Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, LLA; Sameer Bhatti, Chief Executive Officer, Bahamas Telecommunications Company Limited (BTC); Nicolas Collette, Chief Commercial Officer, Business Markets; and Sebastian Kaplan, Vice President-Government Affairs, Liberty Latin America; and many others.

CANTO is a non-profit association made up of operators, organizations, companies, and individuals primarily focused on leading the information and communications technology (ICT) sector across the Caribbean region and the Americas.

 

  • Our very own Marilyn Sealy, Senior Director, Head of Communications, delivered the Sponsor’s Address, while Daryl Vaz, Jamaica’s Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport, delivered the Featured Address (photos attached).

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