Depths Of Despair: How To Distinguish The Blues From Depression
Everyone goes through times when they feel a little down or discouraged. This is often referred to as the blues and will eventually pass without the need for any treatment. However, sometimes the symptoms of clinical depression can mimic the blues, and distinguishing the difference is important.
Evaluate what triggered your feelings
If you began feeling down after the loss of a loved one or pet, the break up of a relationship, or being passed over for a promotion at work, it is probably the normal response to a life event that is causing you to feel blue. Death, divorce, or the end of a relationship can all trigger deep feelings of loss and sadness. Sadness or feeling depressed that occurs apart from a life-altering event may mean you are suffering from a more serious form of depression that needs to be addressed.
Keep track of how long your symptoms last
A case of the blues will usually go away in a fairly short period of time. If you are feeling down, you should note when your feelings started and see if they lessen or go away within a few weeks. Lingering feelings of sadness or feeling hopeless is a red flag that something is amiss, and you should seek professional help.
Count your symptoms
Both the blues and clinical depression can present with common symptoms. Some of the symptoms to watch for include losing interest in things you enjoy, sleeping too much or not enough, overindulging in food or alcohol, lack of energy, frequent crying, difficulty making decisions, increased irritability, restlessness, and isolating yourself from others. If you have several of these symptoms, you may be experiencing clinical depression rather than just a case of the blues.
Let your quality of life be your guide
Those who suffer from severe forms of depression often find it difficult to go to work or attend social events while a person with the blues will feel down and sad but still be able to perform their work tasks and attend social events. If your sadness is affecting your quality of life, you should always seek help.
Knowing what signs to look for when you are feeling down will help you determine whether you should wait and see if your symptoms go away or if you need to seek professional help. Knowing the difference will help you get the treatment you need to get your life back on track again and can help prevent more serious forms of depression from developing.