This post will be a little different from most of my previous posts. While my style is not usually to use my blog as a ‘journal’ of sorts; that’s kind of what I will be doing today. However, I am only doing this with the intentions of, hopefully, reaching someone who may also need to further explore what exactly it means to be ‘clinically depressed.’ So, I guess, I can start with just a tiny bit of background information, without going into too much long and drawn out detail.
First of all, my childhood was far from ideal, to say the least. At this time, I would rather not talk to much about that. The past is the past. I rather not have judgement passed on anyone or anything, that happened back then. It was, after all, a very long time ago. People grow up and we have to learn to let go of things that have already come and gone. We can not change them. That does not mean, that we can not change.
Anywho, I made a decision to start going to therapy about a year-year and a half ago. I have been through quite a lot and I just finally felt like, why not? How on Earth could it possibly hurt anything? I did that just in the knick of time too. It wasn’t too long before my brother passed. With luck, it didn’t take long before my fiance’ joined me in the movement of ‘self betterment’. Because, in November of 2013, we also lost his father.
Let’s fast forward to now. Approximately three weeks ago, my therapist told me that I was clinically depressed. At first, it caught me off-guard. Clinically what? Depressed? Me? Really? I’m like the happiest person that I know.
…annndddd then, I actually stopped and thought about that. Truth is, sometimes my happy is an act. And sometimes, I forget that I am supposed to be acting happy. I hate that crap. Long story short, that ended up being an emotional day for me.
I know, I know..you’re sitting here like, “So, you aren’t depressed? Then why did talk about being depressed, make you emotional?”
Well, there’s the thing about depression, right there. Most of the time, you don’t even realize that you’re suffering with it.
Now..I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. Three weeks went by. I, for the most part, forgot about this whole depression thing. It was in the back of my mind the whole time. It was just wayyyyy, wayyyyy back there, ya’ know?
And, then yesterday morning, there I was, sitting in the doctor’s office. When my doctor turns around to me and brings up depression medicine, I can’t even describe how I felt. It was a mixture of nervousness, relief, confusion, surprise, & like ten other emotions that I can’t even think of; all at one time. I was a little overwhelmed. So, I cried. See a pattern here? Yeah. I can be a little sensitive. The part that throws ME completely off is, I usually don’t even know why. I just get overwhelmed with emotion and I don’t know what to do with it. So, I cry. I can’t stop it. It does not always happen in bad situations..basically, I am slightly, emotionally retarded. I accept this. I’m working on it.
Anyway, If I don’t get to my point soon, I’ll definitely get more and more off subject, so here goes it.
My first major question was, what exactly is clinical depression? Like, what is the difference? What is that clinical part about? What makes me depressed? I needed to do some research. Here’s some of what I found:
1. clinical depression
Psychiatry. a depression so severe as to be considered abnormal,either because of no obvious environmental causes, or because thereaction to unfortunate life circumstances is more intense orprolonged than would generally be expected.
Definition found on Dictionary.com
I am now on my journey to fight clinical depression. I have been taken off of my ADHD medication and put on an anti-depressant. From what I understand, my ADHD could be a symptom of said depression. With further motivation to learn more, I spoke a lot with my mother on the subject yesterday. In our conversation, I think I discovered that I suffer from co-dependence. That will have to be another post, anopther time. For today I will leave you with a little bit more information on clinical depression.
What are your thoughts? Do you or someone you love, suffer from clinical depression? How was it discovered? How is it being handled?
In This next piece I got from MayoClinic.Org:
* symptoms and etc, that I, personally, suffer with occasionally
*symptoms and etc, that I suffer with regularly
May I also note that, I did not actively notice all of these things in my life. I didn’t not know that they were symptoms of depression either. So, even if I did actively notice them before, I would have never made the connection. I’m grateful that the issue was finally brought to my attention.
Appointments & care
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counseling or both. Other treatments also may help.
Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
- *Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
- *Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- *Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
- *Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- *Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
- *Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
- *Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- *Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Other people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
Types of depression
Depression affects each person in different ways, so symptoms caused by depression vary from person to person. To clarify the type of depression you have, your doctor may add information to your depression diagnosis called a specifier. Specifiers include having depression with specific features, such as:
- *Anxious distress — unusual restlessness or worry about possible events or loss of control
- *Mixed features — simultaneous depression and mania, which includes elevated self-esteem, talking too much, and racing thoughts and ideas
- *Melancholic features — severe depression with a profound lack of response to something that used to bring pleasure, associated with early morning awakening, worsened mood in the morning, significant changes in appetite, and feelings of guilt, agitation or sluggishness
- *Atypical features — ability to be cheered by happy events, increased appetite, little need for sleep, sensitivity to rejection, and a heavy feeling in arms or legs
- Psychotic features — depression accompanied by delusions or hallucinations, which may involve themes of personal inadequacy or negative themes
- Catatonia — includes motor activity that involves either uncontrollable and purposeless movement or fixed and inflexible posture
- Peripartum onset — occurs during pregnancy or in the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum)
- Seasonal pattern — related to changes in seasons and diminished exposure to sunlight
Depression symptoms in children and teens
Common symptoms of depression in children and teens are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.
- In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
- In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.
- *Depression may occur with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a normal part of growing older and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, including:
- *Memory difficulties or personality changes
- *Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, aches or loss of interest in sex, which are not caused by a medical condition or medication
- *Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
- Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men
When to see a doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or troubles in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.
If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
And one more from MayoClinic.Org
What does the term “clinical depression” mean?
Answers from Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Depression ranges in seriousness from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is the more severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.
To be diagnosed with clinical depression, you must meet the symptom criteria for major depressive disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association. This manual is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
For clinical depression, you must have five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period, most of the day, nearly every day. At least one of the symptoms must be either a depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure. Signs and symptoms may include:
- *Depressed mood, such as feeling sad, empty or tearful (in children and teens, depressed mood can appear as constant irritability)
- Significantly reduced interest or feeling no pleasure in all or most activities
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite (in children, failure to gain weight as expected)
- *Insomnia or increased desire to sleep
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior that can be observed by others
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- *Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt
- *Trouble making decisions, or trouble thinking or concentrating
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt
Your symptoms must be severe enough to cause noticeable problems in relationships with others or in day-to-day activities, such as work, school or social activities. Symptoms may be based on your own feelings or on the observations of someone else.
Clinical depression can affect people of any age, including children. However, clinical depression symptoms, even if severe, usually improve with psychological counseling, antidepressant medications or a combination of the two.
I do not personally suffer from suicidal thoughts. I do not ever see myself being that depressed. I pray that I never am. However, if you know anyone who is suicidial or talks about it, please reach out to them. It is a serious matter that should never be taken lightly. You could save a life.
If you have suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Make an appointment with your doctor, mental health provider or other health care provider.
When to get emergency help
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.