Are You Really Depressed or Just a Little Down? 12 Signs That Let You Know If You Need to Get Help

All of us have bad days, sometimes those bad days can merge into bad weeks or even months, but normally, we get over whatever is bothering us and move on.

 Many things can cause temporary depression, the kind that isn’t serious and will pass.  You might have lost a promotion at work, or had a bad breakup, or even just not had enough sleep.  All these are good reasons for feeling blue, but they shouldn’t last too long.

 If you are worried that you’re not getting over the “blues”, look at these 12 signs.  If you are experiencing several of them, or even one that just won’t go away, you are not just blue, you are depressed, and probably should seek some qualified help.

1)    Angry outburst, frustration or irritability, even over small things.

2)    Insomnia or sleeping too much or other disturbances in your regular sleep patterns.

3)    Reduced appetite and weight loss, or less frequently increased appetite and weight gain.

4)    Feeling empty, sad, or unhappy.

5)    Lack of energy and tiredness, sometimes finding even little tasks taking extra effort.

6)    Losing interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as playing with your children or sex.

7)    Slowed speech, thinking, or movements.

8)    Trouble concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things.

9)    Anxiety, restlessness or agitation – such as the inability to sit still or pacing constantly.

10) Fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility, having feelings of guilt or worthlessness.

11) Unexplained physical problems, especially if you didn’t have them before, such as headaches or stomach problems.

12) Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts or attempts.

images (1)None of these, by itself (except for suicide attempts) is cause for alarm unless you are experiencing it on a daily basis.  If you are having several or more of these symptoms, you need to get help.

Many people are hesitant to seek professional help.  They feel there is a stigma or others will ridicule them, or they simply fear the unknowns of therapy.  It’s O.K. to feel these things, but you have to find a way to push yourself or get someone else to push you to do this anyway.  While friends and family may love you and want to help, they are not trained to deal with major depression and usually end up leaving you no better off than you were before talking with them.

I often suggest to people I counsel, even if they aren’t depressed, that they find a professional (me or someone else) and get the necessary information together so they are prepared if they ever need help for this problem. 

Write down the person’s name, address, phone and email.  Read the bio about them so you know their credentials, and if possible, try and meet them so they won’t seem like a stranger to you if one day you need their services.  This may sound silly, but it can really make a difference and make it much easier for you to seek help for depression if the day comes when you need to.

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