When is it depression?
Some people think depression and sadness are the same thing. Or depression and grief. Like you’re sad your kid made a bad choice at school and you wish he didn’t have to spend recess “on the wall.” Or you’re grieving because your aunt died, and she was your favorite, and you cry sometimes when you think about her. Those things are different from depression - not less than or better than.
Depression is more about wanting to disappear, become tiny, curl up in a corner and stay that way forever. You can’t sleep but once you do you can’t get up. At all. And you feel like this pretty much all day every day.
Your limbs feel heavy, and walking from the couch or bed to the sink for a glass of water is like moving through mud and you don’t have the energy to even think about trying it. In fact, you might actually have mud – or at least dirt – throughout the house since, with depression, it’s hard to be motivated to clean.
You CAN get stuck in sadness and develop depression. And you CAN get stuck in grief and develop depression. But generally, sadness and grief ebb and flow depending on your situation, while depression sticks around for more than a couple of weeks.
You’ve lost interest in things that used to be fun for you. You don’t socialize anymore and even Facebook takes too much energy. You used to love visiting friends but now you spend your time at home alone, and don’t even open the curtains. You used to enjoy going dancing but now you binge watch Scandal or Breaking Bad.
Generally, sadness and grief ebb and
flow, while depression sticks around
If you’re eating, you’re eating whatever’s easy – whether it’s healthy or not, tasty or not. Or you might be eating all the time. Boxes of cereal and milk, cartons of ice cream, bags of potato chips, supersized candy bars one after the other, or Happy Meals from drive throughs. But you’re not likely cooking nutritionally balanced meals that take planning or look and taste appealing.
You’re probably moving and talking much slower than normal for you – so much that other people might have noticed. Your parents would say you’re “dawdling,” and coworkers would call you unmotivated, but you just know you’re exhausted. And your voice has become monotone with less feeling, shorter sentences, and smaller words.
It’s likely gotten harder to concentrate and make decisions. You don’t read books anymore or watch full length TV movies, but rather flip through magazines and watch shorter shows. And if the choice is what to eat, you probably won’t eat at all. What to wear? You’ll just stay in your bathrobe.
You feel so worthless and guilty and hopeless that you wonder why you were even born, like you’re a burden to all those around you, like your existence is a mistake. You can’t imagine a better or different future. Please, if you feel like you might hurt yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the online Lifeline Chat at http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org for help.
And all of this feels like it’s gone on for an eternity and that it will never, ever be different.
I picture sadness and grief as bumps on an otherwise steady road of life. Depression is more of a dip, a dent (or a depression) in the road, so deep you need help to climb out.
If this sounds like you - if you think you might have depression - call me for a free consultation where we’ll discuss strategies to get you feeling better or whether you need more help. And in the meantime, click for some activities to get temporary relief.
As always, thank you for reading my post, and please share with anyone you think it might help.