I think I have depression but I’m not sure.
Let me start this blog by saying all feelings are normal. All of them. Sadness, anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, happiness, joy...all normal. For this reason, to some extent depression is normal too. Short periods of depression for say a couple of hours, a day or two, even sometimes up to a week is normal. Knowing the signs and symptoms of depression can help you decide when it is time to reach out for support from your doctor or a trained therapist.
Difficulty getting out of bed: This goes beyond the “I’m tired and want to press the snooze button” feeling that we all get from time to time. This could mean that you can’t physically get out of bed but you are also not tired. This could mean that you feel stuck in bed. Difficulty getting out of bed can also mean you are tired and want to sleep longer. One of my clients described her experience to me as the bed being a magnet that is holding down every part of her body; alert, present, but not able to physically peel herself out of bed.
Sleeping too much or difficulty staying asleep: Depression is exhausting. Everything takes so much effort. Getting out of bed, brushing your hair, making it to work or school is a huge accomplishment. Sleeping more often because you are tired or trying to escape your life is a symptom of depression.
Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep is also a symptom of depression. It is not uncommon for depression and anxiety to go hand in hand. Sometimes the difficulty in sleeping is due to being anxious that you won’t sleep, sometimes it is due to the distress of having depression, sometimes it is due to your sleep schedule being off from overcompensating for being tired.
Irritability, being short with your friends and family and feeling like you have no patience. It has been my experience that irritability tends to show up primarily in low level, long term depression. This is because the person has been unhappy with life for awhile, is feeling stuck, and as the depression wears on, their patience for life and for people begins to wear down.
Feelings of low self esteem, guilt, worthlessness. When a person is depressed they can get down on themselves for the things they aren’t doing. They might start to feel worthless, guilty, and useless because they can’t show up to life in the way that they did before their depression. If they used to cook dinner every night for their family but now can’t because of their depression they might start to have thoughts like “I’m worthless. I’m the worst mom. I can’t believe I’m doing this to my kids and partner”.
These are just a few symptoms of depression. When you meet with a therapist they will ask questions about your symptoms to get a full picture of how you are struggling. It can take a few sessions for your therapist to understand what you are dealing with, the way that your life is being impacted, and how/where the depression comes from.
It’s OK and appropriate for you to ask your therapist how they can help you, how therapy will help you to start to feel better.
When people make an appointment with me, Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, LMFT I end the first session by sharing with that person my clinical insights. This means that I share with them trends I notice like depression or anxiety, I talk about my approach to treating their issue, I talk about initial goals for helping them to start feeling better and I answer any questions they might have. Doing this for my clients helps for us to define a path for them to start feeling better, it helps them to make an informed decision about how to spend their time and money, and it helps the client to determine if I am the right therapist for their specific need.
To schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation go to my website: www.GwendolynNelsonTerry.com. If you’re ready to schedule your first appointment call 619-383-1900 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org