Do I have depression: Wondering about depression
Do I have depression? This is a question many people ask themselves when they feel tired or sad, especially if that happens for seemingly no reason at all. Depression is a very real concern, being the most common mental health disorder around the world.
Despite being so common, many still have a lot of misconceptions about depression and what mental health disorders are in general. Some people live a long time with a mental health disorder without recognizing it as such or because they don’t feel they can ask for help.
If you are wondering “do I have depression”, you probably have some symptoms that are worrying you.
You may feel sad or tired. Your life may be fine, but you don’t feel happy. Maybe something else is happening in your life that is making your worried. So, do you have depression?
The best way to diagnose depression is to find a professional who can give you the diagnosis and support you need.
However, this is not always an option. The first step may be to understand what depression is and how it may affect you in order to see whether it fits your experience.
Do I have depression: What is depression?
Before answering the question “do I have depression”, you need to first know what depression is. Depression is a common mental health disorder many people experience at least once in their lifetime.
Depression is characterized by persistent and frequent feelings of sadness. You may also feel that you no longer enjoy the things that you used to like. Sadness and loss of enjoyment are core symptoms of depression.
Another factor that can tell you whether the answer to “do I have depression?” is a yes is how you feel.
Do you feel tired or fatigued? Depression makes you feel lacking in energy most of the time. It can also make it hard for you to focus. Lack of energy and pep alone does not automatically mean one as depression of course. There are many factors that need to be considered.
Depression affects your sleep and eating patterns. You may start sleeping less or more. Many people develop insomnia or feel tired when they wake up. Some lose their appetite and may lose weight, while others experience the opposite. During a depression, you may crave comfort food and sweet foods especially, but it can vary.
Another symptom of depression is feeling worthless or guilty in an inappropriate way. This means that you may feel guilty or worthless even if it does not match your reality. It can be hard to identify these feelings as being groundless sometimes.
In some people, depression is associated with suicidal ideas or plans. Some people start thinking about death a lot, even if they are not suicidal. If you have had suicidal thoughts or ideas, it’s very important to seek professional help right away.
The symptoms of depression in men and the symptoms of depression in women are usually similar.
Do I have depression: Are there gender differences in depression?
The symptoms of depression in men and the symptoms of depression in women tend to be quite similar. But depression may manifest in different ways. Firstly, women are diagnosed with depression more frequently. This can be because it appears in women more or because it often goes undetected in men. Also, men may be more unwilling to receive help for depression.
Secondly, the symptoms of depression in men may sometimes manifest through anger and irritability. The symptoms of depression in women may manifest through sadness. This is due to cultural differences. It’s more acceptable for women to cry and be sad than it is for men.
Do I have depression: Depression and grief
Sometimes, you may be asking yourself “do I have depression” when you feel grief. Grief is quite similar to depression, but it is not the same. Grief can manifest through symptoms similar to depression. You may feel sad. Activities may not give you much pleasure. You may not want to eat or have insomnia. You may feel tired and distracted. However, grief is associated with loss.
A bereavement or a terminal diagnosis or another significant loss can make you experience grief. This is a normal part of coping with the loss. So, grief can be distinguished from depression by the presence of a loss. Another difference is that grief usually goes away as time passes. After going through the mourning, you eventually feel it with less intensity.
It is worth noting that a person can feel grief and develop a depression. This usually happens when the feelings of loss are severe and disruptive or when there are suicidal ideas or plans. Suicidal ideas are not a normal part of grief.
In some people, grief may also last far too long and stay too intense. This is complicated grief. People who have not been able to overcome a loss may benefit from psychological support and professional help.
Do I have depression: Should I diagnose myself?
When you are asking yourself “do I have depression”, you may want to answer that question with certainty. Sometimes, you may feel sure after reading about depression that it’s what you have.
A self-diagnosis can be the step that leads you to a mental health or healthcare provider. It may encourage you to seek out medication or therapy. However, it should not be the final step.
A self-diagnosis may prove to be accurate or inaccurate. For instance, some people who show symptoms of depression may have bipolar disorder. In bipolar disorder, periods of depression and periods of manic euphoria occur. For some cases, the diagnosis of depression reflects a physical condition that is making you feel tired or insomniac.
Sometimes, a self-diagnosis can be useful because it helps you understand what’s going on. Often, we might feel “lazy” for being tired or lacking energy. Labeling what’s happening to us as depression rather than laziness can be empowering and helpful.
Overall, a self-diagnosis can be a useful provisional tool that motivates you to seek help or name the things that are happening to you. However, it should not be the final step. Find professional support or treatment to help you get better.
Do I have depression: Misconceptions about depression
Just asking yourself “do I have depression” can be scary. Nobody would like to have a mental health disorder, especially with the myths about it.
Firstly, depression is seen by many as being a product of laziness or entitlement or “weakness.” This is inaccurate. Depression is a disorder that affects the brain and that can severely affect a person’s quality of life. It’s a real problem.
Secondly, having a mental health disorder is not the same thing as losing one’s mind or going crazy. Depression affects many people, and many of those overcome it. Depression can happen to anyone, but it doesn’t mean you are losing your judgment or sanity.
With treatment, depression can improve. If you have a specific fear or idea about depression, it’s a good idea to do some research. You’re likely to find that it’s more manageable than you think. Your situation can and will improve. You are not alone. Many have gone through depression and overcome it.
PS You may want to check out my sister articles to this one: