Sad times and hardships are a common occurrence throughout the lifespan. So how can you distinguish between periods of situational sadness and serious depression? How do you know if you or someone you care about is experiencing depression? The information in this article can help you answer the question of, “Why do I feel so sad?” and, “What do I do now?”, when it comes to recognizing and seeking help for depression.
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that depression can happen to anyone. Suffering from depression does not mean that you have done something wrong, nor does it mean that there is something wrong with you. Feeling as though you will “snap out of it” on your own is a risky attitude to have. Sometimes we need to do more. It’s important to recognize that you can feel different, and to seek the proper treatment or make the necessary adjustments to your self-care.
Depression is vastly different from the day-to-day feelings of moodiness, sadness and feelings of giving up that we all have at times. Depression is characterized by worsening sad feelings every day for more than a few weeks. Often these pervasive feelings are of worthlessness, hopelessness and loss of joy in activities. Often there are weight changes, sleep disturbances, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and sometimes thoughts of suicide. For depression to be present, there must be several of the above symptoms. Depression causes impairment in your life: Your down feelings and symptoms will consistently interfere with your activities, relationships and work life. The level of disruption to your day-to-day life and relationships is a key indicator of the severity of your depression. For example, mild to moderate depression is often characterized by sadness creating difficulty getting started in the morning or getting out of bed, whereas severe depression involves often missing an entire days work because you can’t get out of bed. Also, pervasive negative thoughts about yourself, others and the world will be present. These thoughts are hard to shake and it can seem that there is no other option then to feel upset or angry.
If you are experiencing sudden changes in your mood and some of the symptoms listed above don’t ignore it. Depression often fuels negative thinking and beliefs about yourself, which can further push you into a depressive mood. Recognizing the signs early, and seeking the appropriate treatment can help you to get back to feeling like yourself and develop strategies to avoid depression in the future. Therapy for depression often involves understanding the symptoms and causes of your depression, developing more realistic and positive ways of thinking, creating a plan to reintegrate yourself back into your activities and relationships and learning about the fundamental of healthy self-care.
For more information about depression, I recommend reading the following articles: “The Difference Between Depression and Losing Your Mojo” by Lissa Rankin, and “Six Truths about Depression” by Lisa Firestone.
If you are seeking treatment for your symptoms of depression and would like to book an appointment with us in Ottawa, fill out the following Appointment Request Form.
Article Written By: Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi Ba.Soc.Sci, MA Candidate