Feeling Depressed Or Suffering From Depression
We often get mixed up between low mood and unhappiness and depression. The two things are very different. Depression isnt about feeling unhappy, its feeling youll never be happy again, explains Colin Grange, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Lifeworks.
If youre feeling low, is it starting to interfere with your day to day life? Are you not doing things that you used to do? Are you losing motivation in and enjoyment of life? Are you starting to not enjoy your hobbies? Is everything becoming an effort?
People suffering from clinical depression often experience a range of symptoms both physical and emotional which can interfere with day to day life. Discovering whether you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms could be an important step towards getting the help you need.
Quiz: Am I depressed?
How Common Is Depression
Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the country. An estimated 17.3 million adults in the US reported having at least one major depressive episode over the course of a year, a 2017 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows.
Thats 7.1% of all adults ages 18 and older. Women have a higher prevalence of experiencing a major depressive episode than men .
Depression is especially crushing for the workforce: Its the number one leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. The total economic burden of MDD is estimated to be $210.5 billion per year in the United States alonea figure that reflects costs associated with missed days, reduced productivity, treatment for depression, and suicide.
What Treatment Should I Be Offered
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence writes guidance on what treatment doctors should offer you. But your doctor does not have to give you these treatments. And the treatments may not be available in your area.
Different treatments may be available in your area. Your doctor might think these suit your symptoms more than the recommended treatments.
NICE recommend that depression is treated in different steps depending on how severe the condition is for you. The steps are as follows.
Step 1: Everyone who may have depression
Your doctor should offer you:
- an assessment of your symptoms,
- support, such as regular appointments in person or by telephone,
- information on how to deal with your symptoms,
- monitoring of your symptoms and follow-up, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 2: Mild to moderate depression
Your doctor may offer you:
- low-intensity interventions, such as self-help guided by the doctor or computerised cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- physical activity programmes,
- group cognitive behavioural therapy ,
- medication if you have a history of moderate or severe depression, or you have had symptoms for a long time, and
- referral for further assessment and treatment if needed.
Step 3: Moderate to severe depression, or mild to moderate depression when other treatments havent worked
Your doctor may suggest:
Step 4: Severe and complex depression or if your life is at risk Your doctor may suggest:
Don’t Miss: Clinical Depression And Anxiety Disorder
We Dont Have To Feel This Way
Learning I wasnt alone in my depression was the first step in a long process of discovery. The second revelation I had was that I didnt have to feel that way.
I dont have to be stuck. I dont have to feel consumed by despair or indifference.
I can feel better.
Theres nothing stopping me other than the voice in my head telling me that its pointless to try. Once I realize I dont have to feel bad all the time, I can start actively looking down that road of recovery.
They Could Have A Tough Time Responding To Affection And Concern
The main misconception about depression, which has been hinted at in the paragraphs above, is that its about feeling sad.
On the contrary, depression is mostly not feeling anything, or only partially and briefly experiencing emotions. It depends on the individual, but some people with depression report feeling almost numb, and the closest thing to an emotion they experience is a kind of sadness and/or irritation.
Because of this, appropriately responding to gestures or words of affection will be difficult for them, or they just dont think about it any more.
They may even get irrationally irritated or annoyed with you over it, because it may simply be too difficult for their brains to process and respond to your loving gestures.
You May Like: Can I Get Over Depression On My Own
Understanding A Loved Ones Depression
If someone you care about is dealing with depression, you may not be sure how to support them. If your attempts to help are rejected or dont seem to do any good, you may become frustrated and impatient.
If you feel tempted to tell someone who is depressed to try harder or just snap out of it, it may be a sign that you are overwhelmed or experiencing burnout. If this happens, its important that you pause and take time to reflect on your own feelings. You wont be able to help someone else until you have taken care of your own emotional needs.
When youre worried about a person you care about, the feelings of fear you have may come across as anger when youre talking to them. Even if you aren’t mad or speaking in anger, depression can make it harder for a person to really hear what you are saying. They may interpret your words as being dismissive, accusatory, disappointed, or any number of emotions that arent necessarily accurate.
When youre speaking to your loved one with depression, keep this in mind if it seems like your conversations are full of miscommunication. Although you may want to remind them of all the good things in life or point out that it could be worse, platitudes such as these arent usually helpful for a person with depression to hear.
What Its Really Like Going Through A Deep Dark Depression
I thought everyone Googled suicide methods from time to time. They dont. Heres how Ive recovered from a dark depression.
How we see the world shapes who we choose to be and sharing compelling experiences can frame the way we treat each other, for the better. This is a powerful perspective.
In early October 2017, I found myself sitting in my therapists office for an emergency session.
She explained that I was going through a major depressive episode.
Id experienced similar feelings of depression in high school, but they were never this intense.
Earlier in 2017, my anxiety had started to interfere with my daily life. So, for the first time, Id sought out a therapist.
Growing up in the Midwest, therapy was never discussed. It wasnt until I was in my new home of Los Angeles and met people who saw a therapist that I decided to try it myself.
I was so lucky to have an established therapist when I sunk into this deep depression.
I couldnt imagine having to find help when I could barely get out of bed in the morning.
I probably wouldnt have even tried, and I sometimes wonder what wouldve happened to me if I hadnt sought professional help before my episode.
Ive always had mild depression and anxiety, but my mental health had rapidly declined that fall.
It would take me close to 30 minutes to coax myself out of bed. The only reason I would even get up was because I had to walk my dog and go to my full-time job.
My spark just seemed to fizzle.
Read Also: Why Do You Sleep So Much When Depressed
Other Reasons People Hide What They Are Feeling
Parents who are experiencing depression may worry about how their children or family could be affected. They may even fear that they will be seen as unfit parents if they admit to having feelings of depression.
The pressure to justify depression can be overwhelming, but remember the old saying that you cant judge a book by its cover. The way someone elses life appears to be may not show the whole truth.
People who are depressed may work very hard to try to hide how they really feel. On the outside, they may look and even act as though they feel OK and that everything is fine.
Whether youre experiencing depression yourself or you care about someone who is, it can be helpful to reframe how you think about the condition. Start by focusing on the causes of depression rather than focusing on reasons .
We Can Find Small Victories
The desire to make an effort to ward off depression is important. I know when its time for a change. At that point, Im ready to argue back against depressions whispers.
Learning to say no in life can preserve our mental health and save our personal bandwidth in many ways. It establishes healthy boundaries and helps us develop respect and expectations among our peers.
It also saves me from myself.
Im going to go take that walk. Im going to get up and take a shower, even when the weight of depression is so heavy I can barely move my feet.
And guess what? I feel the success of that small victory like a burst of sunlight in the darkness. I did it. I got up and took that shower. I went for that walk. I brushed my hair today.
Depression said I couldnt, but I did it anyway, and I know Im unstoppable.
You May Like: Best Anxiety And Depression Podcasts
When To Seek Professional Help
If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes arent enough, it may be time to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including:
Therapy. Consulting a therapist can provide you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles and motivate you to take the action necessary. Therapy can also offer you the skills and insight to prevent the problem from coming back.
Atypical Depression: Whats in a Name? Article on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of atypical depression.
Depression and Other Illnesses An overview of the mental and physical illnesses that often co-exist with depression, and how this impacts treatment.
Depression support & suicide prevention help
India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345 or 1800 2333 330
Suicide prevention help
In the U.S.: Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
UK and Ireland: Call Samaritans UK at 116 123
Australia: Call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14
They Can Have Bad Days And Better Days
Depression can have its ups and downs. If someone has hidden or undiagnosed depression, they might seem like they get random mood swings, depending on if their depression is consistent or not. To you , the changes in mood seem without cause, but its simply how some peoples depression manifests.
If you know the person has depression, its possible to falsely believe theyre permanently better because of a few good days. While its always great if someone has a day thats better than the one before it, you should always let them tell you what theyre ready to handle and when.
Assuming theyve completely recovered and pushing them too quickly into things might overwhelm them and make them retreat into themselves again. Be supportive of your friends and family who have depression, but let them make the calls.
Going to the salon every other week gets expensive, but there are useful, free, and creative ways to get the perfect manicure without making that bank account-draining bi-weekly appointment. Check out these hacks for a great manicure.
Don’t Miss: Living With A Depressed Spouse
When Should I Seek Help
Talking with a mental health counselor or doctor can help prevent things from getting worse, especially if your symptoms stay for any length of time.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help right away.
It’s important to understand that feeling depressed doesn’t mean you have depression. That condition involves not only changes in mood, but also changes in sleep, energy, appetite, concentration, and motivation.
If you have physical symptoms like these and find yourself feeling depressed much of the time for days or weeks, see your doctor.
We Can Cultivate Honesty
Depression tricks me into hating myself, but it also manipulates how I feel about the world.
When doubts about loved ones creep in, I take a moment and ask myself if I honestly believe they would want anything other than what was best for me.
When depression is pulling me under, trying to drown me, its whispering that those around me dont want to help.
Deep down, I know this isnt true. Our loved ones want us to be happy, healthy, and successful. Many of them would sacrifice for us to have the best of the best.
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Depression During Pregnancy
How Is Depression Diagnosed
These days, a routine doctors visit with your general health practitioner may be all it takes to receive a diagnosis. Standard screening tools like the Patient Health Questionnaire a survey of yes, nine items, that physicians use to assess the severity of depressionare becoming widely used in primary care settings to screen for the condition.
In fact, most patients with depression are going to be diagnosed and treated by primary care doctors, not specialists or psychiatrists, says James Murrough, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment at Mount Sinai.
Depression is mainly diagnosed by history and clinical presentations, or a specific pattern of symptoms, says Dr. Murrough, which is to say theres no blood test for MDD. But if you have symptoms like changes in sleep or appetite, your doctor may look into other conditions unrelated to mental health .
The first thing your doctor might do is order blood testsnot to make the diagnosis of depression, but to rule out things that could be masquerading as depression, explains Dr. Murrough. For example, an underactive thyroid can present as low mood and feeling sluggish, and iron deficiency anemia is another reason why some people might have low energy.
Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression
Depression is about being sad, surebut its more than that. Depression is a mental illness that involves a lot of symptoms, like feeling exhausted all the time, losing interest in activities you normally enjoy, or thoughts of death and suicide. Episodes of depression last at least 2 weeks at a time. They can be triggered by a sad event or they can seemingly come of out of nowhere.
Recommended Reading: Baclofen For Anxiety And Depression
Is It Depression Or Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar disorder can actually make the condition worse.
If youve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.
Need to talk to someone?
Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.
Perceptions Can Affect Treatment And Outcomes
Looking at the causes helps people understand that being depressed is a medical condition, not a choice.
Depression can be, needs to be, and deserves to be treated. However, there are many different ways to treat the condition. What works for one person may not work for another, and some people have to try many different options before finding something effective.
Its also not unusual for people to need to try different treatments throughout their lives to manage depression, as the condition can change and evolve in response to changes in a persons life .
If you are depressed but dont understand why, you may recognize that you need help and may want it, but may also be struggling with the feeling that you dont have the right to ask for help.
Know this: Every person with depression deserves treatment.
Recommended Reading: Can A Traumatic Event Cause Depression
What Risks And Complications Can Depression Cause
Having depression can cause other problems. It can affect your mental health as well as your physical health, and it may affect other areas of your life too. For example, depression may cause:
- disturbed sleep,
- difficulties with work and your hobbies,
- difficulties keeping contact with friends and families, or
- suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harming.
Some people might also drink more alcohol to try and relieve depression. However, as we said in the previous section above, this can actually make depression worse.
If you have any of these problems, speak to your GP.
They May Start Needing More From You
A depressed person legitimately cant function like a mentally health person. There will be things they will no longer be able to do as much of, as often, or at all. Pestering or shaming them about it will only hurt, not help. If theyve been keeping their depression private, it will be that much harder to deal with others getting irritated with them because they cant perform at the level thats expected of mentally healthy people.
This is why its always best to be understanding with those in your life, both work and personal. You dont know if someone isnt just slacking off, but is struggling with a real health problem.
You May Like: Anti Depression Meds That Cause Weight Loss