"Could you be depressed and not know it?" This sounds like a ridiculous question. After all, wouldn't you know if you were depressed? Possibly not. Depression can take hold gradually, without a person realizing that depressive thoughts and feelings are increasingly dominating her perspective - and her life.
Many people assume that depression is easily identifiable, manifesting itself as persistent sadness that doesn't lift. In fact, symptoms of depression can take a variety of forms. Chances are...
"I hated who I was," says the 40-year-old. "My depression was so severe and my suicidal ideations were so severe that I decided to create a person who does so much work, is so proactive, and so diligent in everything he does."
In the tough, male-dominated environment where he worked, Weaver put on a show of confidence. But when he got home, he would yell at his wife and kids, and cry for hours with a gun in his hand.
After months of contemplating suicide, Weaver turned to his wife for help. With her support, he was treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, more commonly known as "shock treatment"), antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, psychologist and psychiatrist visits, and hospitalization.
Now, Weaver feels better about himself and runs his own program to educate police officers about depression, stress, and suicide prevention.
He shares his own experiences with fellow officers, letting them know that if they feel depressed and/or suicidal, they are not alone. He says two to three times more officers commit suicide than are killed on the job by criminals.
Law enforcement is also reportedly one of the top ranking professions in the country for suicide, alcoholism, and divorce.
"So many officers and so many men in different occupations cannot feel that it would be appropriate to tell people how they feel," says Weaver. "It gets to be so bad that the only recourse that they feel they have is suicide."
Depression can affect people in all walks of life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, symptoms of the illness could include:
Changes in appetite that result in weight loss or gain not related to dieting