Recognizing Depression in Yourself and Others

Do you think that you may be suffering from depression? Or do you suspect that a loved one – a friend, a family member, or even your own spouse may be depressed? It is very important that you recognize depression when you or someone you care about experiences it, so that action can be taken. Depression can develop into ideas of self-harm, and this can be very dangerous to you or your loved one.

Depression is different from feelings of sadness. Sadness is typically felt only for a short while and due to an occurrence in a person’s life, while depression lasts a lot longer and can be crippling to a person.

Here we enumerate three critical feelings that a depressed person experiences to help you recognize depression in yourself and others.

If you recognize these feelings, you should seek help as soon as possible.

Critical Feeling #1 – A Negative View of Themselves

Depressed people have a very negative view of themselves. They have a poor self-concept, and most of the time, thoughts of being inadequate and a feeling of being a failure plague them.

Critical Feeling #2 – A Negative View of the World

Depressed people also have a negative view of the world. They see their lives as full of hopelessness and loss. They frequently dwell on the idea that the present world has nothing to offer them, and they cannot envision any change or help for themselves.

Critical Feeling #3 – Negative Expectations of the Future

Depressed people have negative expectations of the future. They believe that their lives will only get worse – they are very pessimistic, and they feel helpless in their ability to change what’s to come.

The main point here is that depressed people have a negative concept of themselves, their current lives, and the future. People who have lived with depression for a long time feel that this is what’s “normal” and cannot imagine a different life.

You can take the first step to help yourself or someone you love overcome their depression. It will not be an easy task, but recognizing it is one of the most essential steps to a better life. With a bit of help and determination, one can overcome these feelings of negativity and start enjoying life once again.

If you (and/or someone you care about) need help to overcome depression, please reach out to Tracy Crain.

How to Take the Steps to Relieve Your Depression

So where do you start, when you’re depressed?
If you feel that you may suffer from depression, the most important thing to keep in mind is this- you are not alone. Most people suffer from at least one period of depression in their lives, and many people live with depression day in and day out. Depression can be triggered by the loss of a loved one, or it may be a more disruptive illness that interferes with the ability to enjoy work and family life on a daily basis.

Depression affects everyone differently, but people who are depressed usually feel overwhelmed by pressing ideas of hopelessness and loneliness. These feelings, coupled with fear and anxiety, make it difficult for people suffering from depression to face the issue head on. Don’t let these feelings keep you from seeking help.

Depression can be treated with a combination of support, medical intervention and self-help. You do NOT have to suffer alone.

Get support for your depression

The first step in relieving your depression is acknowledging that it exists. Talk to a loved one or trusted friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Addressing your feelings is a big step in the direction to recovery. When you open up to the people who are close to you, you give them the opportunity to support you and understand what you’re going through. This is helpful for both you and your loved ones.

See a Doctor to help you manage depression

Seeing a doctor helps determine the cause of depression.  If you’re not sure of the cause, start with your family physician. Depression can be caused by many factors: the death of a loved one, the change in the seasons (seasonal affective disorder), a chronic chemical imbalance, etc. If you know that your depression is brought on by a specific trauma, ask your family physician for a referral to a counselor or a psychiatrist.

Therapy can help you understand and cope with depression

Talking about your problems with a mental health professional (counselor) can be helpful in treating depression.  No matter how trivial you consider your problems to be, or how hopeless you feel in doing anything about them, a mental health professional takes your problems seriously and gives you undivided attention and direction.

Talking to a counselor is different than talking to a close friend.

Counselors are trained to remain objective when listening to your problems so they can formulate a plan to help you make positive changes in your life. Mental health professionals create a safe environment to share negative feelings that your loved ones may take personally. It will take time for your depression to lift. By talking to a mental health professional in a safe and open environment, you’re taking a positive step to the road to recovery.

Medication for depression is available

Some types of depression respond well to medication. This must be prescribed by a doctor. However, keep in mind that anti-depressant medication is not a cure-all. Treatment of depression with medication, if used, needs to be taken in conjunction with counseling. Unfortunately, your issues don’t go away just by popping a pill. A mental health professional will give you the support you need to move forward with your life in a healthy direction.

You can begin to help yourself

Sometimes depression, especially if it’s caused by a certain traumatic event, can be alleviated by following a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Aerobic exercises such as walking, bicycling or swimming are especially beneficial. Scientists theorize that these exercises release “feel good” hormones (endorphins) in the brain that can naturally lift your spirits and help you feel more optimistic and in control. This approach can be useful, especially when taken with another form of therapy.

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand with each other. When you’re suffering from depression, it’s especially difficult to get active. A mental health professional can give you tips to keep you motivated on your path to recovery.

Moving toward recovery

Almost everyone who experiences depression recovers and feels good again. Your “normal self” is not lost. Recovery is a step-by-step process, but the first small step leads to the next one. With help, and a little bit of self determination, you’ll be able to enjoy your life again.

If you (and/or or someone you care about) need help to overcome depression, please reach out to Tracy Crain.

Depression Types (and how not to treat depression)

Types of Depression

While there are many types of depression (and different lengths of time each can last), there are basically two forms: situational and physiological.

Situational depression stems from environmental factors. Some examples are:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Relationship troubles
  • Divorce
  • Job stress (or loss)
  • Betrayal
  • Abandonment
  • Illness
  • Abuse
    • Emotional
    • Verbal
    • Physical
    • Sexual

Over time, these situations can manifest into debilitating depression. And this runs a lot deeper than mere feelings of sadness, because it lasts for much longer than simply “having a bad day.”

Physiological depression is due to a chemical imbalance—either genetically inherited or developed due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Both basic forms of depression can be controlled and effectively managed with medication (an anti-depressant, for example), and/or therapy. Depending on its severity, ideal treatment of depression is usually a combination of medication and ongoing therapy. Therapy works to incorporate thought and behavioral changes to redirect thinking and actions, helping ensure healthy symptom improvement.

How not to treat depression

Unfortunately, many people choose other forms of management that are anything but effective—and can cause other very serious problems such as substance abuse and/or avoidant behavior. While the dangers of substance abuse are fairly obvious, avoidance (burying the source of depression in the hope that it will somehow fade away) never works. In fact, it just makes matters worse because there’s no solution or development of healthy coping skills. So what the depressed person is left with are deep feelings of despair that are merely cast aside until the drugs, alcohol and/or avoidant behavior has passed. Then depression comes roaring back more powerful than before, leaving that person without the capacity or skills to function on an emotional, and sometimes physical, level.

Getting help for depression

If you (and/or or someone you care about) need help to overcome depression, please reach out to Tracy Crain.

Depressed? Wondering If You Can Overcome Depression? You CAN

We all have a sense of pride (not to mention ego) that often prevent us from realizing—or even acknowledging—that our feelings of sadness have stretched into days, weeks and sometimes years. Being able to identify that whatever you’ve been doing to cope simply hasn’t been working takes a lot of guts, and taking that first step is often a huge hurdle. And because we want to believe that we can effectively manage these feelings on our own, seeking help gets shoved to the back burner.

When your thoughts and feelings persist into negativity, despair, lethargy, constant sleep and/or sleep disturbance(s), it’s hugely beneficial to connect with a doctor and a therapist. They’ll help you sort through what you’ve been experiencing and—with your assistance—point you in a more positive, healthy direction.

However, if in any way your feelings become those of self-harm, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention.

Know that feelings are who you are, based on what you’re experiencing and influenced by what you’re thinking. Replaying the same tape, over and over (and day after day), can manifest into detrimental behaviors that can be very difficult to get out of.

The good news is there are several different types of counselors (and therapeutic approaches) to address what you’re feeling. So where do I think you should start?

My first recommendation is to rule out any medical issues that could cause or exacerbate your situation; so visit your doctor and/or get a physical. Next, seek a therapist to obtain an evaluation about how you’re feeling, how long you’ve been dealing with these feelings and what may have caused their onset—and explore options to help you best address and effectively manage your depression. This healing often takes place with the collaboration of both your doctor and therapist.

Depression is a condition, not a way of life.

Being depressed is not only lonely and scary, it can also be debilitating. And people who’ve been living with depression for a long time often believe that this is what “normal” feels like. But know that depression is a condition, not a way of life.

You just took the first step toward changing your life by reading about depression. Make an appointment today to explore what can be done to start making your life about living—not merely surviving. It can be difficult and overwhelming to navigate this path alone, so seeking therapy is a safe, effective and hopeful approach you can begin right now.