Depression Got You Down?
So, What Is Depression?
The term "depression" gets thrown around a lot. Here is the clinical scoop.
For some people, depression occurs by itself. In others, it might be combined with anxiety, hallucinations, other illnesses or mental illnesses -- and it can become quite complicated.
Unfortunately, it's common for people to say "she's depressed" when someone is sad, leading to a great deal of misuse of what is really a very precise and serious term.
Technically speaking, to be officially diagnosed as "depressed" or "having depression" the person must have had at least one "Major Depressive Episode". Here's what that means: over a two-week period of time, the person has had depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities. It has to be consistent and uninterrupted (during those two weeks), although the reporter is usually the depressed person herself.
It's important to understand this two-week period represents a change in mood. It's not the normal day-to-day same-old-same-old.
Are you with me so far?
The next part of the diagnosis comes from having most of the following:
- Feeling sad or "down" for most of every day, or others saying this. There might be frequent crying. Being irritable or angry can substitute, particularly in young people.
- Not doing or wanting to do things you usually like to do.
- Weight loss or weight gain, or appetite increase or decrease. Again, pretty much every day.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Feeling either really "on edge" and super tense, or feeling out of it and "numb".
- Tired, worn out, exhausted.
- Feeling unworthy or guilty.
- Being unable to concentrate or make decisions.
- Thinking of death or suicide regularly and recurrently.
There are all kinds of different types of depression, but the above are the absolute basics for diagnosis. If you have questions about diagnosis-related issues, I highly recommend you speak with your doctor or your therapist and ask your questions. Symptoms and diagnosis can change over time, so it's very important to stay in communication about what's going on. There are also some excellent articles at Psychology Today.
Consider a Meetup for Support
One of the best ways to find others who can support you is through attending a support group. And one of the best ways to "sample" the support groups that are out there is by joining a Meetup.
The Meetup website offers so much, and my clients always begin to blossom when they connect. Just look for your city, then find out what support meetups are offered. There is one for nearly everything -- from pet loss to playdates for parents.
You are welcome to stop by our site and come to a meetup. We'd love to see you!