Sometimes a feeling of depression hits suddenly and hard, making it easier to identify it as being out of character or making no sense. But when depression starts with a feeling of sadness that then grows and grows, it can be more difficult to know if you’re dealing with deep sadness or Major Depression. Distinguishing between the two and finding an appropriate approach to taking care of yourself is important to prevent an episode of depression from getting worse.
Indicators of major depression include:
- Throughout nearly every day for the last two weeks or more, difficulty engaging in your normal daily activities with your typical amount of energy.
- A blocked ability to experience the enjoyment you used to find in your hobbies, work and/or relationships.
- A low or irritable mood as your primary mood throughout nearly every day for a period of weeks and they will find it difficult to identify why they are feeling so low.
- Healthy habits, such as exercising and eating well, can be replaced by other behaviors, such as drinking more than usual.
- Sleeping less well and/or unintentionally gaining or losing weight.
In cases of sadness, on the other hand, one will often find:
- A more transient low mood; it tends to come and go rather come and stay.
- A clearly identified reason for their sadness, such as the loss of a loved one, and their
- The sadness is often triggered by memories or things in their day that cause them to remember that reason (e.g., seeing their deceased dog’s leash).
- Can still enjoy their relationships and other pleasurable things in their lives and can experience feelings other than sadness during their day.
While time often helps heal what’s causing a person’s sadness, sadness can turn into depression. For this reason, it is important to keep an eye on your sadness or the sadness someone close to you is experiencing. Watch for the signs listed above and get help if depression appears to be replacing sadness. Left unattended to, depression can often get worse and/or cause significant disruption is a person’s life and relationships.
Major depression is not a sign of weakness or laziness; it is a mood disorder that can respond very well to psychotherapy. If, over a period of time, therapy alone is not bringing the improvement expected, there are many medications that can be added to your treatment. If you’d like to talk to someone about possibly having depression feel free to call us.
Have hope; you are not alone and help is available.