What is Depression?

When someone is struggling with depression, one commonly feels sad or empty most days than not. Some may feel depressed for a short period of time while others may feel depressed for a significant length of time. To be clinically diagnosed with a Major Depressive Episode one must feel sad along with other depressive symptoms for at least two weeks. These symptoms may include diminished energy to no energy, loss of pleasure in hobbies or life experiences that one once found enjoyable, hopeless feelings, suicidal thoughts and attempts, lack of concentration, and interrupted sleep patterns. In depression, some also report a strong negative self-view and possess little confidence that other people care or love them.

It is commonly know that depression can be caused by unhelpful thought patterns and beliefs about oneself. It is also understood that depression can be triggered by a specific situation in one’s life (ex: ending of an important relationship, loss of a job, death in the family, financial strain) or past traumatic events (ex: abuse). However, we are all unique and one person’s cause of depression can look very different from another person's.

Day to day life is already challenging and when one experiences depression amidst these challenges, life can be very difficult to manage. If one’s depression is untreated, the depressive symptoms can become more severe (ex: extreme hopelessness and suicidal thoughts). For these reasons, getting quality professional help is important to help manage and significantly reduce the symptoms. One does not have to live with the potentially debilitating symptoms of depression and one can know that a higher quality of life is possible with professional help.

This post also appears at the La Vie Counseling Center's website.