Depression or Something Else?


Admitting We are Confused

The search for help can begin when we realize that we don't know what to do next, in other words when we are confused. We've 'talked until we are blue in the face'. We're doing our best to watch our diet, exercise and get enough sleep. We've asked around a bit, looked on the internet, maybe even read a book or two, but still no real answers.

Eating, sleeping and having the energy to exercise might be a part of the problem. Nothing seems to work. We can get along like this for a bit, but when these basic human needs are not met, things are not likely going to improve. Soon enough our relationships suffer, our family suffers, our career wanes, and the enjoyment we feel when helping others is lost. Could it be depression? Or is it something else?

It's time. Take a little time to write down what has been going on in your life. Then find someone who you can trust to be honest with you. One of the biggest limitations individuals face when trying to help is that they don't know 'the whole story'. They are then apt to 'fill in the blanks' and miss a golden opportunity to get it right the first time. If this were easy you would have figured it out yourself. There are some pieces missing and the person you decide to trust with your story needs to hear about it! All of it! This allows them to use the best insight they have at hand.

How to Find Out If You Are Depressed

Exactly what are the symptoms you face? Think of the words that truly describe what you feel. State what you feel to be the cause. Then in the morning when you wake up, track your symptoms throughout a twenty four hour period.

For example, ‘I feel this began slowly after my mother died three months ago. Now, I find I wake up in the early morning feeling tired and anxious. It lasts 2-3 hours as I lay in my bed, my head pounding, dreading the day ahead. I finally drink my pot of coffee, pull myself together and slowly these feelings fade a little as I get myself to work. At work, my concentration, energy and drive are all shot and others are beginning to notice, as my work is piling up. It distresses me but, it doesn't seem to matter, nothing seems to matter. I'm not exercising, I don't even go out anymore. Nothing gives me joy. All I eat is junk and I've gained 20 pounds in the last three months and I just don't care. I get to sleep only to wake every hour or so thinking and there just aren't any answers'.

  • When did it begin?
  • Did it come on all at once or very slowly?
  • Is it the same each day or does it vary?
  • Does anything help? Does anything make it worse?
  • What have you tried so far? What were the results?
  • Besides you, who seems to be affected? How has this affected your relationships?
  • What have people told you about how you are coming off?
  • Have you had this before? Has anyone in the family had this before? Did they get help? What worked?
  • Have you noticed anything else about how you feel physically?
  • When is the last time you had a physical checkup?
  • Have you been taking all of your medications? Have you started any new pills, medications, or supplements around this same time?
  • Have you been to any remote places recently?
  • Have you been involved in any risky behaviors?

Get it on paper as concisely as possible and talk it over with someone you trust. You want them to read the whole composition, so keep it thorough but succinct. It is most beneficial that the individual assisting you, read your whole recount, before they start asking you questions.

You've made time to put together a carefully thought out summary of what has been going on. The words you use, the way you express it, and the emphasis you provide will offer the grounds for a good 'investigation'.

Again, you want them to get the whole story before they make their conclusion. The goal is to identify the problem, whether it is depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder or something else. A word of caution: once a decision is made, many often fit future facts into the decision. Don't fall into that trap. Always be open to alternative explanations, especially if you find things increasingly aren't adding up.

Understanding Ourselves from a Medical Standpoint
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