Our society sometimes talks about depression as though it’s no big deal. “I’m depressed today,” can mean anything from, “it’s an annoying day” to “I’m not sure if I can go on.” As a result, we all have a vague idea of what depression is, but you might not know what it really means to have clinical depression. It’s a serious mental health condition plaguing a large number of people, and it’s something that you should take seriously if you suspect that you or a loved one have it.

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What is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in people and activities.

In fact, there are many different types of depression. Therefore, if you’re looking at a list of symptoms, and you feel like you don’t quite check the boxes, it doesn’t mean that you’re not depressed. The most important thing is how you feel, not whether you specifically fit a list of symptoms.

Depression can sneak up on you and time passes before you realize that you’re just not feeling like yourself and haven’t been for a long time. If you don’t feel like doing things that you used to enjoy, or you do them and they don’t seem fun, or you aren’t interested in doing much of anything at all, then it could be a warning sign that you’re in depression.

Oftentimes, depression can feel like you’re just really tired. You can’t seem to get yourself out of bed. You oversleep. Alternatively, you might have a lot of trouble sleeping at night, often because your mind won’t quiet down, and you can’t understand why you can’t sleep when you are so, so tired. Even if you manage to get enough rest, you might feel like you are sluggishly dragging yourself through even the most routine motions.

If you do drag yourself to work, chances are that you’ll feel frustrated because you can’t be as productive as you would like. Your brain is foggy. Your thoughts and even your physical movements are slow. It’s like you’re wading through a thick sludge of muddy sadness, and each time you try to take a step, more mud piles on you and it feels that much harder. You can’t concentrate, focus, or make decisions. Trying to just makes you want to cry … or go back to bed.

The lack of sleep, along with depression itself, can also cause physical changes. For example, you might notice that you’re eating differently. Some people don’t feel hungry at all. In contrast, many people eat all of the time, hungry or not, and gain weight as a result of depression. There’s often a craving for carbohydrates and other comfort foods.

It’s also important to look at the impact of these issues on your life. If the symptoms impair your life, then you’re probably dealing with depression.

For example, if your grades, work performance, or relationships are suffering as a direct result of these symptoms, then depression has its hand in your life. Depression seeps in, takes over, and makes it feel challenging to do the normal everyday things that you used to be able to do without difficulty. If it feels hard or impossible to do those things, then it’s important to get help. 

Of course, all of this sounds awful. Undoubtedly, it also feels awful. However, even though depression increases hopelessness, it’s important for you to know that you can get through depression. There are tried and tested methods to help people overcome this challenging time. You already have a lot of strengths, skills, and experiences that will help you as you recover from depression. It’s not hopeless at all. You might not be able to feel it right now, but there truly is a lot of hope for your future. We can help you find it.

How Can Therapy Help with Depression

In the short-term, depression therapy can help you deal with the immediate distress of depression. If you’re feeling suicidal, then you can work on a safety plan so that you don’t act on that impulse. If you’re about to lose your job because you can’t get yourself to work, then your therapist can help identify this as a pressing issue and work with you to find a solution. Your therapist might suggest a referral to a doctor for medication that can help you get through the worst symptoms of depression. There are many external things your therapist might help you learn and practice, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation, grounding exercises, and shoring up your support system. Your therapist will also help you understand the internal factors contributing to your depression. You will learn more about the importance of your internal soundtrack – how you talk to yourself throughout the day, what you say to yourself about you and the life that’s happening around you, whether you’re able to catch yourself in negative thinking and turn it around or whether those thoughts spiral unchecked.

Your exact needs will be unique to you, and your therapist will work with you to find solutions for your own personal combination of those internal and external factors.

As the depression lifts, you can continue to work with your therapist. You might explore the root causes of the depression. Trauma, illness, relationship challenges, life transitions, and grief are among the triggers for depression. Even if they didn’t “cause” your depression per se, you might find that you want to work through them to get yourself to a better place overall. You might also want to work on building self-esteem, setting boundaries in relationships, exploring childhood wounds, etc. The stronger you get, the better equipped you’ll be to decide how you want therapy to work for you.

Get the Help You Need Today

Depression is a serious condition. You don’t have to deal with it alone. Reach out for help today so that you can begin getting better.

Of course, it can be hard to make that first move. Depression itself makes you feel so exhausted that signing up for therapy can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Furthermore, it eats away at your self-esteem, so that you might feel like therapy is pointless because you will never get better. We assure you, depression is a condition that isn’t your fault, and you have the ability to get past it with a little bit of help. Therapy is that help. Even if it feels tough, reach out today to make an appointment.

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