We all feel sad, upset, alone and unmotivated at times in our lives. We all experience a loss and grief when we are going through a difficult time, it is part of being human. Usually, when we are down, we can still function, and we know we will eventually bounce back to life. Usually, we do bounce back but what if you don’t? What if the feelings of sadness continue and start to interfere with your everyday life? They start to impact your work, recreation, and social life. You find you no longer find joy in the things you use to love. You find yourself not being able to get out of bed or you can’t sleep much at all. You can’t shake feeling tired all the time. Your weight starts to change, and you feel worthless and unmotivated. You may start to believe that the world may be better off without you. If this is occurring, you may be experiencing major depression.
Major depression also known as clinical depression is a medical condition that goes beyond the regular low mood we can all experience sometimes. If you have major depression you are not able to just pull yourself out of it, often you need support and treatment from a trained professional and possibly medication. It is estimated that more than 16 million people in America suffer from Major depression. Females are more likely to suffer from Clinical Depression.
What sets Clinical Depression apart from feeling depressed is the severity and the length of time one has experienced the feeling associated with it. If you experience these emotions for longer than two weeks and they are started to negatively impact your daily functioning it is important to seek help.
The common symptoms associated with depression are
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Dark moods
- Deep feelings of sadness
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Withdrawing from friends
- Low self-esteem
- Lack of interest in doing things you usually enjoy
- Difficulty getting through your normal daily activities
- Inability to concentrate and issues with your memory
- Sleep changes
- Appetite changes
- Body pain and aches
- Thoughts of ending your life or hurting yourself
Depression can show up differently for people and it can be hard to see at first. You may have only some of these symptoms or you may be experiencing ones that are not listed here. There are also different levels of depression and how it can influence your life.
There are also different forms of depression such as a post-natal depression which can occur after having a child and is a lot more serious than “baby blues”. Also, there is anxious depression, bipolar depression, and psychotic depression. Often depression also occurs with feelings of anxiety.
Different life events can trigger feelings of depression such as a loss of a relationship, losing a loved one, losing your job, abusive relationships, legal issues, financial pressure, substance abuse, isolation, trauma. Often the feelings of depression will go away on their own but if you have found they are not it may be good to check to see if you are experiencing a more severe form of depression, so you can treat it effectively.
If you are not sure if you have depression or how severe it may be, there are great apps or websites that can help. For example, the Patient Healthcare Questionnaire -9 (PHQ-9) that is widely used among health care professionals. This test will help you diagnose depression, so you can get the needed treatment. This assessment is provided on a Free App called the Depression Test which allows you to take this assessment on your own. The App also provides you with insight into your mood and help you track your progress. It will also provide you with high-quality depression resources on the internet. Depression can be treated and if you are struggling there are activities you can do to help your mood and it is important to talk to your doctor.
If you are only experiencing the feelings of depression these self-help activities have been shown to help decrease depression symptoms and help boost your well-being.
- Proper nutrition and exercise
- Keep active by joining groups, volunteering, or trying new things
- Spend more time in nature
All emotions are healthy, and we all experience them. The only issue is when emotions become extreme and persist for an extended period. If you can’t shake feeling sad, take action today.