How Do I Know If I Have Depression?

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A recent patient of mine suffering from depression shared with me her embarrassment and confusion. Surely, she thought, she couldn’t be depressed. She received excellent work performance reviews, had three beautiful children, and was married to a husband she loved. She felt that with everything she had going for her, she had no reason or right to be unhappy. Except, she was unhappy. She was unhappy to the point where the man she loved was starting to feel frustrated, her boss noticed she seemed less motivated, and her children asked her why she cried sometimes.

Who Experiences Depression?

Depression has likely touched everyone’s lives in some way or another. If you haven’t experienced depression yourself, then it’s likely that you are related to or know someone who has. Depression can be experienced on a spectrum and there are different types of depression disorders. Even if you share a diagnosis with someone you know, you may not share any of the same symptoms. So, your depression is likely not the same as your aunt’s depression. Your depression is likely not the same as your friend’s depression. Your depression this year may not be the same as your bout of depression 10 years ago.

When to seek help?

In general, there are a few telltale signs of depression that may indicate you are starting to feel depressed:

  • Down or sad mood
  • Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping or increased need for sleep
  • Increased irritability
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Low self esteem
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts (if you are feeling suicidal, immediately call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room)

You may find at different times in your like that you have none, some, or all of these signs. If you feel like you want or need help to cope, it is important to seek it out.

Take the following screening to see if you might benefit from help in dealing with depression or sadness: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-screen/patient-health

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