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Clinical Depression, What is It?

A counselor wearing glasses with their hand on a persons shoulder in a counseling setting.

When you are feeling blue, nothing is satisfying. But how blue equals depressed? At what time do you need to seek help? You may ask yourself, “What is clinical depression?” There are signs to find out how severe your depression is and ways ease the pain.

What is Clinical Depression

It’s a common misconception that people who are depressed have terrible lives or that they simply won’t “do what it takes” to make their lives better. In truth, many depressed people have great lives, loving families, and work hard to improve their situation every day. It feels good to be loved and move forward, but it doesn’t stop you from being depressed.

Clinical depression is an imbalance in your brain chemistry, usually having to do with serotonin receptors. When depressed, you’ll be lacking in serotonin, making you feel low energy & lack of joy. People who are clinically depressed are constantly vacillating between being flooded with serotonin or deprived and craving it. It’s not something you can help and for most people, clinical depression is a life-long condition that no amount of medication, diet, or lifestyle.

If this sound familiar to you, then you already know that chemically depressed people aren’t “lazy” or “refusing” to be happy. Being happy is a constant battle against your natural emotional state.

Realizing You Are Depressed

It takes time takes time to realize the full weight of depression and if you even have it. Being a teenager is hard sometimes and full of emotions. It might be hard to determine if regular “teenage rage” is truly budding depression. For instance, long hours of sleeping, mood swings, and weird eating patterns can be regular teenage-life. However, as life moves on with college, career and relationships, that dark mood persists. You may find yourself feeling ‘down’ or tired more than is appropriate for someone in their age-range, and you have more bad than good days. These are clear signs of depression, especially when everything is great and you still sometimes want to hide, sleep, or cry at inappropriate moments.

Depression in Love

People who are clinically depressed may have difficulty maintaining a long-term relationship. No matter how much you love somebody and enjoy being around them, you will still be depressed. Meaning, some days will be bad, you’ll things the wrong way, and you are often not as happy with your partner. This can be hard for your special person, as they don’t feel so special – it is easy to take your depression as a personal fault of theirs. Communication is key during these trying times so that you & your spouse can avoid extra stress.

Depression at Work

Clinical depression doesn’t equate to a lack of ambition. But, depression can hold you back in your career. Being low-energy and constantly down is not the ideal state, especially when co-workers are doing circles around you. Every task can feel tedious; this is normal when it comes to depression. Make appropriate changes to your work environment so that you can focus. Also, it is important to take breaks and even more importantly, move a little during the day. Combine your break with a walk! When you are depressed, it is hard to socialize. But studies have shown that short intervals of companionship are important to help navigate through depression.

Living With Clinical Depression

There are challenges to face when dealing with depression, but there are tools you can use to help you navigate. Living with depression means you have to be curious about your feelings. Physically you might feel low, but that doesn’t mean you are sad. Learn to take inventory of your feelings and know that during a depressive episode you will feel all the feelings. The power is in your reaction to these feelings and how you are impacting people around you. Honor your body – if you feel like you need a time-out, take one. But, don’t isolate, staying connected will make you feel better. In fact, outsmart yourself and actually plan for these activities on your calendar, sync to your phone so you won’t forget. Use technology to your advantage, there are several apps that are geared towards depression.

Depression is real and how you feel is important, this is a time to pay attention to, YOU. Learn how to read your emotions and how they make your body feel. If your body is feeling tired, evaluate that feeling. Are you really feeling tired, or is your brain trying to avoid a project or person? Talk to your loved ones about your battle with depression. This will help them understand they haven’t done anything wrong. Conversely, they might have good ideas to help you cope. They might even share their own experience with depression. Connection is so important to the healing process.

Are You Clinically Depressed?

You might be experiencing depression and that is ok. In fact, realizing you are clinically depressed can be the beginning of a new life. Understanding the cause of your feelings can help you move forward to a solution. If you are struggling and want to explore counseling, we can help. Contact us today to find out more.