June 19, 2012
Kim Kardashian’s marriage to basketball player Kris Humphries earned plenty of public scorn when the union ended after a very brief 72 days. But despite intense media criticism that her decision to wed was a calculated sham intended to boost ratings for Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Kim says in a new interview with Oprah Winfrey that the grief and depression she experienced during the split was all too real — and extremely painful.
“I was in such a deep depression I thought I was going to back away from it all,” Kim admits in the interview airing on OWN’s Oprah Winfrey’s Next Chapter about her divorce from Humphries. In response to her overwhelming feelings, the reality star describes taking four months off from the spotlight before feeling ready to resume normal activities.
Based on what she related to Oprah about the aftermath of her marriage, Kim appears to have experienced an episode of reactive depression, also known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood. Reactive depression is a mild to moderate form of depression that, as its name implies, typically develops in response to a stressful life event, including such common stressors as the death of a loved one, job loss, and divorce.
Symptoms of reactive depression are similar to clinical depression. Those with reactive depression may experience negative emotions such as hopelessness, worthlessness, restlessness, sadness, and anxiety, or such physical symptoms as fatigue and insomnia, headaches and stomach aches, and eating problems (either either too much or not eating). Self-destructive behaviors can arise, such as drinking heavily, drug use, or even suicidal thoughts or actions. Unlike clinical depression, however, reactive depression can be directly traced back to a specific event and, with appropriate treatment or coping methods, tends to resolve itself at some point after the stressor has been removed.
Virtually everyone at some point in their lives experiences a brief period of reactive depression. Mild cases usually fade with the passage of time, though in some individuals, reactive depression may lead to clinical depression. This is more likely to happen when reactive depression goes unaddressed.
What speeds the healing process for reactive depression? Positive stimuli (such as meeting someone new following a breakup) may help, as seems to be the case with Kim’s newfound romantic relationship with Kanye West. Kim’s depression seems to have also helped her develop coping skills for dealing better with stressful events in the future.
“I’ve obviously made plenty of mistakes in my lifetime, but I’m not the type to sit and beat myself up over it,” Kardashian tells Oprah. “If a real lesson was learned, I’m so okay with having experienced that.”