(**Both the names and the details of this case are fictitious in nature.)
Do you have depression or “the blues”? “The blues” are the ebbs and flows of life that make us sad. Just as the events swim into our lives, these events can leave with the same level of swiftness. “The blues” are not the same as Major Depression Disorder (MDD). Major Depression Disorder (MDD) has been described as a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. This can be a one-time event. Sometimes it can be chronic which means that you have recurrent bouts of depression. You may be able to work through these symptoms by utilizing a few tips. Other times you may require a psychiatrist and a prescription to assist you. Then there are “the blues”. Let’s meet Margie.
Margie, 37, stated “I can’t focus on anything. I am having such a hard time sleeping. I was at work today, and one of my co-workers said something to me. Before I knew it, I yelled at her. I don’t know what has gotten into me. I am constantly angry with my husband and my kids. It doesn’t matter what they do. I’m just angry. After I have a chance to calm down, I feel so guilty. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The only thing that provides me the slightest pleasure is wine. I can drink about a bottle of wine a night.”
Margie has the signs of depression. Oftentimes these symptoms can be overlooked, because there is not a connection of crying or sadness. Whereas crying and sadness can be a part of the signs of depression, they are not always necessarily present. Now does Margie have depression? Prior to a diagnosis being provided to Margie, an assessment will need to be provided to her. Many of these assessments are based on self-report (the answers that the interviewee provides to the interviewer). This link will connect you to one of the assessments for depression.
Link to Online Depression Quiz:
Types of Depression:
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:
- Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
- Postpartum depression is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
- Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
- Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
Margie sought the help of a therapist. Based on her score, she was determined to have depression in a moderate form. Margie felt as if she was damaged goods. She felt that she was going to be stuck with a title of being depressed. Margie stated that she didn’t want to be responsible for taking medicines. “I don’t want to be dependent on any type of substances. I don’t want to be weak. I am a woman of faith. I will lean in on my beliefs to make things easier for me during this time.”
Managing Through Depression:
There are many options that can be utilized for reducing the impacts of depression, as well as “the blues”. With MDD, though, there is not an immediate cure that will cause a reduction in the effects of your moods. You can do some things to help you as you work through your depression. They are:
- Create a gratitude journal. Focus on the good that can be found in your life.
- Do a favor for someone who truly needs it. Nothing pumps out a good dose of dopamine, serotonin and/or endorphins like doing a good deed.
- Another way of getting the body to produce the feel-good hormones within the brain.
- Train your thoughts to bring for those things that are creating displeasure. Once these items have been named and explored, allow yourself to make peace with them. Welcome the thoughts with glad tidings. Tell them “In spite of the pain, inconvenience and totally disruption of my hopes, I know that you are here to move me to where I am supposed to be by creating this level of discomfort.”
- Seek help. Help can be in the forms of a therapist, psychiatrist, counselor and religious leader.
If you are having the same experiences as Margie and would like to secure help, please reach out to us for your free 15-minute phone consultation.