What to Do When You Might Be Clinically Depressed
Mood becomes a problem, disrupting your anger management efforts, when it is negative, when it persists, and when it is severe enough to adversely affect your life. All three elements must be present.
No one comes to a mental-health counselor complaining of a persistent, disabling case of joy or happiness. You don’t seek professional help, nor is your life changed significantly, because of one bad-hair day. And it’s unlikely that your lifestyle will be greatly altered by one or two mood-related symptoms — sleepless night, low energy level.
But, if you’re like Lisa, mood is a problem. In her wildest dreams, Lisa would never have pictured herself feeling the way she does when she wakes up every morning. I just dread getting up. I wake up tired even after sleeping all night, and all I want to do is go back to sleep, she says. I just want to run away, go somewhere where no one can find me. I just hate my life!
Describing how she feels is enough to make Lisa cry — which she does quite often lately. Lisa eats, but she has no appetite. And she can’t relax — I feel like there’s a clenched fist in my chest all the time.
Lisa is suffering from clinical depression, a condition so prevalent that some have called it the common cold of mental illness. To determine if you’re depressed, think about how you’ve felt the past two weeks and answer the following questions:
Do you feel sad at times?
Do you not enjoy things the way you used to?
Are you discouraged about your future?
Do you find yourself less interested in other people than you used to be?
Do you cry for no apparent reason?
Do you wake up early and have trouble getting back to sleep?
Have you lost your appetite?
Are you more irritated than usual?
Does it take extra effort for you to get started doing something?
Do you feel tired or exhausted most of the time?
Do you ever think about harming yourself?
Are you less interested in sex than you used to be?
If you answer yes to at least four of these questions, you may be suffering from a mood disorder. Consult with a physician or mental-health professional to see if this is something for which you need treatment.