Maybe you know you’re depressed.
Could be your doctor gave you the PHQ9 and expressed concern at your result. Could be people in your life have noticed a change and wondered aloud.
It’s also just as possible you “feel uneasy” are “not yourself” or are “just blah” and it may never have occurred to you this feeling has a diagnosis, much less a treatment!
All around the globe, common depression symptoms include low moods, sadness, crying, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping, but that’s just for starters. Other symptoms (like decreased concentration, illogical thinking, or physical symptoms) and the very nature of depression can make it one wily snake to pin down!
(Another tricky thing about symptoms is they can be shared by bipolar, major depressive episode, or chronic depression as well as other maladies and it can take a trained professional time make an accurate, specific diagnosis…but enough talk about symptoms!)
What sufferers want is to feel better. Duh!
Nearly all practitioners, whether medical personnel, psychologists, counselors, or social workers, agree there are physical factors involved in mood disorders which- in the VAST majority of cases- will respond well to medication even if some trial and change is needed.
Let me be clear: a good practitioner won’t force meds on you even when they heartily believe in them. A good practitioner will take the time to explore your reasoning or any worry you might have. You’ll make a decision together and she’ll continue to respect your position and concerns each step of the way. (For 50 signs of a good therapist, read here.)
The good news is there is MUCH you and a therapist can explore as additional ways to feel better, cope better, and hopefully GET better. Therapy is no guarantee your depression will be cured or that life will no longer hurt. Good, productive therapy aims to point you toward solution and support you as you walk through the challenges. Just having that support can mean a significant improvement in your life!
Yes, you could tough it out some more. You could just try the meds your doctor prescribed. Or you can do more to feel better sooner. And no matter what your current state of mind is telling you, the TRUTH is, you deserve a good life.
This Buzzfeed article makes some good points about the downward-spiral and vicious-cycle-perceptions that keep people trapped in depression. Gently intervening in these “thinking distortions” takes the safety and skill of a trustworthy therapist.
Of course I’m going to promote therapy as a solution. I’m definitely biased toward therapy! I’ve seen it make a positive difference again and again and again and again and again…
You get what I’m saying.
If you have energy to do just one thing this week, let it be reaching our to connect with a good therapist. If you’ve landed here and finished reading, it means you’re already well on your way.