Am I depressed? What does depression feel like?
Depression is a word many of us use in our daily lives to describe temporary sadness, disappointment, or lethargy. Those are all normal and even healthy emotions for us to feel sometimes, especially in reaction to certain events.
However, when you have clinical depression, you might find that those feelings, or a sense of numbness, are hanging around for much longer than usual.
You might be able to point to a reason for your depression, or you might not see any reason as to why you’re feeling so badly. Depression can interfere with our lives significantly, disrupting our work, school, hobbies, and relationships. Depressive symptoms can include:
Symptoms of Depression
These symptoms can be experienced in any combination; you don’t have to have all of these symptoms to be diagnosed with depression. Anger, numbness, and irritability are also feelings that many people will notice in themselves when they are depressed.
If wanting to die or thoughts about suicide are part of your depression, it is most important that you find a way to keep yourself safe until you are able to get treatment. If you are thinking seriously about hurting or killing yourself, please call 911 or have someone take you to the nearest hospital emergency room.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is another good resource, and you can reach their 24/7 crisis hotline by calling 1-800-273-8255. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, their website https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ has an online chat option in the upper right-hand corner of the page.
What are the causes of Depression?
In most cases of depression, there is a problem with one or more chemicals in your brain – chemicals that are important to mood regulation, sleep, and appetite. When these chemicals aren’t working properly, they can even have make it hard for you to think positively, have hope, or even take care of your day-to-day responsibilities or personal hygiene.
Why Do I feel Depressed?
These chemical imbalances are influenced by genetics, but often there are other factors that combine with genetics to result in depression. You may have experienced stress, loss, disappointment, or trauma, either recently or long ago. You may have had someone in your life who made you feel badly about yourself, or maybe you believe there is something wrong or bad about you. It’s not uncommon for people to start “speaking” to themselves in an unkind or critical way, and for negative feelings build up.
What can I do about being depressed?
While exercise, getting enough sleep, time with loved ones, and participating in activities you enjoy can all help to battle depression, sometimes more is needed. Patients are often able to improve their depressive symptoms by seeing a therapist.
How does therapy help?
A therapist can not only provide some extra understanding and support, but may also help you to explore how your inner thoughts and life experiences are impacting how you’re feeling today. They might help you to start healing wounds from the past, catch negative thoughts when they happen, and be more kind to yourself. Research shows that the most effective and longest-lasting treatment for depression is participating in weekly therapy sessions, along with a medication regimen depending on the type and severity of your symptoms.
We are currently accepting appointments for new clients. Contact us today about finding a psychotherapist who is a fit for you.