How Do I Know if I Need Help for Depression?

How Do I Know if I Need Help for Depression?

Emotions, including sadness, are a natural part of what it means to be human. As much as Facebook friends might never admit it publicly, life isn’t all “likes” and “shares.” When sadness becomes all-encompassing and debilitating over an extended period, it may be time to consider the need to get help for depression.

We’ve all heard of depression, but how much do we really understand about it? It’s often misunderstood in terms of its clinical diagnosis and greatly overused in pop culture.

According to a recent 2016 national survey on drug use and health, an estimated 16.2 million adults 18 or older across the United States experienced at least one or more major episode of depression (SAMHSA, 2016).

This number represents nearly 5% of all adults (Bureau, 2016) with the highest percentage of occurrence among adult females (8.5%). From 2005 to 2015 depression had the highest increase among teenagers with the most rapid increases seen in young people (A. H. Weinberger, 2017).

When Should I Get Help for Depression?

Because depression can vary in how it presents itself, it’s difficult to know whether it’s truly a mental health concern or simply a case of the blues.

Below are some of the more common symptoms of depression that you should be aware of:

A pervasive feeling of sadness and hopelessness

Changes in emotional functioning are one of the most noticeable early signs of depression. You may notice yourself feeling more irritable, or just plain sad more days than not. Things suddenly feel hopeless, crying becomes a daily routine, sometimes for no clear reason.

You may begin to blame yourself for your condition and the lack of control you feel with your emotions. This is often accompanied by growing feelings of anger internalized to yourself.

Things you might find yourself saying things like:

  • “I can’t do this anymore.”
  • “Why do I feel this way, no matter how hard I try nothing changes?”
  • “I should just give up.”

Lashing out and reduced patience

If you’re noticing that you’re very short-tempered or yelling at your spouse or kids a lot, or otherwise lashing out. Instead of working through your feelings, and identifying their root cause you may project them onto others, blaming those around you for the feelings you have about yourself.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “You don’t understand me, you never have.”
  • “All you do is think about yourself, you don’t care how I feel.”
  • “Why am I always angry, I hate myself. I’m a horrible parent.”

A lack of appetite or disinterest in food

A sudden change in weight, either gaining or losing, can be a warning sign of depression. You may lack appetite, or no longer remember the last time you ate or have interest in foods that were once enjoyed. This is often tied to feelings of low self-worth regarding body image.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “No matter how hard I try, I’ll always look this way. I can’t change a thing.”
  • “I cry by myself and then I eat, it’s what makes me feel better for a short while.”
  • “I’m not hungry right now.”

Fatigue, lethargy, reduced physical activity

Another common symptom associated with clinal depression is being extremely restless at night and constantly tired during the day when awake, with little to no motivation to get out of bed to start daily activities. Going to work, or getting the kids on the bus in the morning becomes overwhelming. Even trips to the grocery store may begin to seem like they are simply too much to handle.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “Can we go out another time, I’m just not up for it today.”
  • “I’m falling behind on my work, I just can’t keep up. Who cares anymore, it doesn’t matter.”
  • “Why am I so tired all the time. I can’t get any good sleep, I just need to rest a little longer.”

Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt

You may experience increased feelings of guilt about things that have occurred in the past. Regret and a growing sense of how little you matter to the fabric of everyday life with your friends and family may begin to fester. This often is accompanied by an increased or sudden onset of thoughts of death or dying.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “It might be better for everyone if I wasn’t around anymore.”
  • “It’s as if I didn’t exist now, no one even notices that I’m not around.”
  • “No one cares about me, and why should they, I’m a mess.”

A loss of interest interesting or pleasurable activities

It is common for people who are experiencing depression to experience a decreased or complete loss of interest in life. Things that once provided a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment no longer provide any satisfaction. Spending time with friends or family becomes more of a chore as isolation and solitude increase.

This often results in even greater feelings of worthlessness as one considers a possible reality where they are no longer tethered to the lives and activities of others they once identified as foundational to their sense of self.

Things you might find yourself saying:

  • “It doesn’t matter. Nobody cares about me anyway.”
  • “I’m all alone.”
  • “They will be better off if I’m not there. They don’t want to spend time with me anyway.”

Hope Through Christian Counseling

If you are reading this and you are concerned that you are experiencing one or more of these changes in functioning, health, or lifestyle, it is important that you seek treatment to determine the underlying cause.

Many different issues can be at the root of the emotions that cause symptoms of depression. A number of counselors at Huntington Beach Christian Counseling work directly with individuals and families who struggle with depression.

Give us a call and we can meet with you today to help you find the path to a functional and enjoyable life once again.

References

A. H. Weinberger, M. G. (2017, October). Trends in depression prevalence in the USA from 2005 to 2015: widening disparities in vulnerable groups. Psychological Medicine.

Bureau, U. C. (2016, July). Quick Facts United States. Retrieved from US Census: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/US/PST045217

SAMHSA. (2016). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from SAMHSA: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm#mde

Photos

“Depressed”, Courtesy of Anh Nnguyen, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Eruption”, Courtesy of Yosh Ginsu, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Alex Boyd, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Ian Espinosa, Unsplash.com, CC0 License

DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

Articles are intended for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice; the Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All opinions expressed by authors and quoted sources are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, publishers or editorial boards of Huntington Beach Christian Counseling. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.