We’ve all had moments of not being our best self. In today’s world, feelings of being down or depressed can easily creep in. There have been times when I’ve felt down, and possibly depressed. But how do you know if you’re suffering from depression or just sad? Are they the same thing?
As it relates to mental health, depression is defined as feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Chronic depression lasts for 2 or more weeks and effects your daily living; meaning you may not be able to do things you normally do with no problem. But for temporary bouts of depression, those that last fewer than 2 weeks, these warning signs may give you a clue as to wether or not you’re depressed.
How do you know if you’re depressed?
What Is Depression?
Depression is a medical condition. There is no need to be ashamed of it, because at some time or another, most people suffer from it. Be it a minor bout, or a more clinical form of depression. The stigma comes from people not talking about it, rather than the disease itself.
Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain. For this reason, feelings of depression are very much out of our control, and there is no reason to be ashamed of them.
Depression can bring about some behavioral changes. Some of which are: not wanting to go out anymore. If you’re normally a very productive person, perhaps you’ve stopped completing tasks that are normally no problem for you. Relying on alcohol and other sedatives to get through the day is also an indicator of depression (it’s important to note that this practice of using drugs to cope with depression, can and will lead to other problems as well), unable to concentrate or not getting joy from activities that normally make you happy.
Any and all of those symptoms may appear if you are suffering from depression. The important thing is for your to recognize them, and talk to someone to work your way through what’s troubling you and remember while your problem may feel all encompassing, you’re not alone.
There are various reasons that can bring us to the feelings of depression, but once depressed, you may feel overwhelmed, guilty, irritable, frustrated, lacking confidence, or sad. Clinical or chronic depression will feel like this more frequently, like it’s never ending. For temporary depression, these feelings are more than likely brought on because of a specific situation, and once that situation is over, typically the depression will lesson.
It’s important to note that if you are suffering from clinical or chronic depression, you will need the help of a professional to help with coping with your depression. Often times, feeling like you have to deal with the symptoms of depression makes one feel like there is no hope and can magnify the feelings you’re already trying to manage.
There is nothing wrong with needing help.
Feeling down? It may be more than just an “off” day.
Changes In Your Thoughts
Depression can effect your self talk; the way you think about yourself, or your overall opinion of yourself. Thinking things like, “I’m a failure”, or “I’m worthless”, “It’s my fault”, “nothing good ever happens to me”.
Sure, we all may think these things from time to time. What’s important to note is that for the depressed brain, these are constant self thoughts that they can’t escape and they can lead to some of the emotional or behavioral changes we mentioned above.
If your depression is related to a specific situation, try opening up to a friend and talking to them about what you’re feeling. It can help and may even give some perspective to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If these are thoughts you own, and have made a part of your daily life, try speaking to a professional to get to the root of why you think this way about yourself. It may give some insight to a problem that you didn’t know you had and can help you learn to cope with these thoughts.
Perhaps the most notable of all of the changes our bodies go through when we’re depressed, physical changes are a bit easier to notice. Being tired all of the time (depression naps), sick and run down, headaches and muscle pain, stomach problems, significant weight loss or gain, are all just a few symptoms of depression.
Recently in an interview with Pryanka Chopra-Jonas, Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Byles, spoke about her depression when she was dealing with her sexual assault. She said that she loved to nap, because it was the closest to death that she could get, and she referred to them as her “depression naps”.
If your thoughts are anywhere near this level, go get help immediately.
There Is No Shame In Needing Help
Mental health issues are more common than we think. The reason why it seems like you may be going through these problems alone is because we don’t openly discuss mental health as a society. Just know like any other part of the body, the brain will have health issues do. Sometimes those health issues effect the way that we think.
Because we can’t control the chemicals our brains release, we cannot control how we react in the presence of those chemicals. Instead, we can learn to cope, be more honest about what’s effecting us, and create open conversations to mental health issues.
If you or someone that you love is suffering from depression and considering suicide please get professional help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255 they counselors available to talk 24 hours a day 7 days per week. They are also available on line Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Talk to someone to begin to cope with your feelings. You’re not alone.
Who’s At Risk?
Depression doesn’t have a “type”. Anyone can get depression. It can effect anyone of any age, race, gender, health level, job position, socio economic status, or nationality.
What Should You Do If You Or Someone You Know Needs Help?
If you feel like you need help, please speak with someone to get the help you need. You are not alone. Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step, once recognized you’ll be better able to get the help you need.
While I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, I did study to be one and have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Forensic Science from The University Of Central Florida.
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