If you’ve been struggling with ongoing feelings of sadness for some time now, it’s common to ask yourself, “Do I have depression?”
For obvious reasons, you don’t want to imagine up a disorder that isn’t there. At the same time, you don’t want to avoid such a question if the answer could be, “yes.”
After all, it’s far easier, in the long run, to admit a struggle exists and address it than to deny and bury the possibility. So, in your courage, you want to know the truth. If you’re truly depressed, you’re prepared to find solutions as well as if you aren’t.
In her article on this topic for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Cindy Aaronson, MSW, Ph.D. shares the following:
“Sometimes when we find our bad day seems to last day after day, then that may mean something else is going on.”
Could something else be going on? If so, it’s worth finding out. Let’s dig a little deeper.
What is Depression?
Everyone has sad moments or days from time to time. Depression, however, takes things a step further.
Depression is prolonged sadness and can vary in severity from person to person. Also, there are different types of depression including major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder and dysthymia to name a few. Major depression disorder tends to get the most attention, however.
Common major depressive disorder symptoms include:
- A depressed mood
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Weight changes
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts and thoughts about death
Not all of these symptoms are always present at the same time for those who experience depression. Also, these common signs of depression are often found to some degree in a variety of different types of depression. It’s just that the causes, duration and severity of the depression may be different depending on the depression type one experiences.
It’s Important to Get an Assessment from a Mental Health Professional
Many assume that figuring out whether you have depression or not is an easy, cut-and-dry process. The reality is quite different.
Not only are there a variety of depression types, but other mental health disorders can also mimic the symptoms of depression. Two of the more common mental health disorders with similar symptoms include ADHD and anxiety disorders.
Further complicating matters, some individuals may have depression in addition to one or more other mental health disorders. That also doesn’t account for the fact that physical health struggles can sometimes look like depression as well (or lead to it).
Given the inherent complexities involved in diagnosing depression, it only makes sense to get the advice of a professional. Depression is a serious matter and you want to make sure you get the best possible diagnosis. Fully knowing what you’re up against will help you to better manage your depression.
Do I Have Depression and Could Counseling Help?
Have you recently asked yourself, “Am I depressed?” If so, even needing to ask the question means you should take the answer seriously. The willingness to seek professional help takes great courage and is the best way to know for sure if you have depression.
You can also expect to benefit from counseling for your depression. Not only will you feel better admitting your difficulties to someone you can trust, you’ll also receive help with implementing coping strategies from a trained professional.
Part of improving your depression can involve cognitive behavioral therapy or a number of other helpful interventions. You can work with your therapist to identify self-defeating thoughts that only drag you deeper into depression.
Then, you can work with your therapist to exchange those destructive thoughts patterns with ones that are healthy and more realistic. Over time, you’ll likely experience relief by implementing these better thought processes.
If you’re worried that you or a loved one may be struggling with depression, there’s hope. The OC Relationship Center specializes in helping individuals struggling with depression.