Recognizing when our “sadness” and emotions are becoming too much, or too often is not easy. Having depressed times, moments or days can happen to anyone! It is easy to fall into a pattern of sitting within our sadness instead of trying to combat it. So we need to figure out: am I just feeling sad over specific circumstances or am I truly becoming depressed? Let’s take a look at the definition of depression: a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest (Mayo Clinic). With depression there are different forms ranging from situational temporary depression, mild depression all the way to Major depressive disorder. This range depends on factors such as what are your symptoms and how much they have started to affect things in your life such as relationships, family, school and work. And these are to be determined by a professional.
Some common symptoms of a person with Clinical Depression as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association as; Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness, Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, Sleep disturbances, Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain, Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements, Unexplained angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, Feelings of worthlessness or self-blame, Trouble thinking or concentrating, making decisions, Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts.
Allowing yourself to start noticing these symptoms is the very first step in getting the help you may need. Once we recognize something is wrong/off we can take the steps to move towards getting the help we need. Depression can be helped by the use of psychotherapy and antidepressants or a combination of both. Please remember that even just reading this article you are making the first step towards healing and that first step can be the hardest part.
Madison Smith, LMSW