Depression is common illness and is serious: One in 10 adults report experiencing depression at some time in their life. This is not just feeling down for a day or two or sad because you have gone through a breakup. Clinical depression can affect you in many ways. Below is a checklist for you to see if you might be depressed.
Signs and Symptoms:
Depression’s symptoms vary greatly from person to person and may even change during depression. Common symptoms (though not all) of depression include:
Frequent crying and overwhelming feelings of sadness.
Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.
Changes in sleep such as excessive sleeping or the inability to sleep.
Anger or Irritability.
Difficulty enjoying previously-enjoyed activities.
Unexplained physical ailments such as headaches or muscle pain.
Changes in weight or eating habits.
Thoughts of suicide.
Brain chemistry plays a major role and life experiences can also affect brain chemistry. Some people become depressed after experiencing a trauma or stressful life change such as the death of a spouse, a separation or divorce, financial instability, moving, giving birth, or health issues. Everyday stressors can also contribute to depression. Sometimes depression arises as a defense mechanism in order to avoid experiencing painful emotions.
Depression’s symptoms are different from the symptoms related to grief, when feeling emotionally overwhelmed is normal and short term. Depression may be suggested when feelings of despair and sadness upset daily life and last for more than two weeks.
A person experiencing depression may have difficulty coping with daily stressors and may feel helpless and alone. In fact, sometimes the most everyday activities—getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing—can feel like a difficult achievement.
Depression is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy, and the condition is highly treatable. Unfortunately, stigma surrounding depression prevents many people from seeking treatment. Because an individual with depression may see themselves as flawed or weak, they are likely to feel shame about their condition and wish that they could “just snap out of it.” Depression is hard to overcome by yourself and you just can’t think positive and get over it.
There are a number of therapeutic approaches that are effective in treating depression, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Some do well with therapy alone and others find that they might need medication, but the choice is always up to you. Regardless of the approach, a trained therapist can help a person heal the source of the depression. By getting to the root of the cause, examining thinking patterns, gently accepting new options, looking for strengths and coping with emotions, depression can lift and individuals can resume their lives.
Nancy Ryan, LMFT specializes in working with individuals and couples who want deep, satisfying relationships with themselves and their partners. She works with couples who are ready to stop the destructive patterns and want to build the love, friendship and romance back into their partnership