Recognizing Depression

Life has its ups and downs and everyone feels sad from time to today or even define themselves as “having the blues”. These feelings can be defined as “normal”; however, if these emotions take hold of your life and won’t seem to let go, then you may be depressed and suffer from clinical depression. Depression makes the everyday tasks in life quite difficult, and you can’t enjoy life like you once could. Sometimes just getting through the entire day is a struggle and can be quite overwhelming. Understanding the signs and symptoms of depression can be your first step in seeking help and getting better, overcoming this problem.

Clinical depression is much more than feeling sad about something. Sadness is a normal reaction to the struggles in life, along with the disappointment and setbacks that come with it at times. On the other hand, depression often makes people feel lifeless, empty, or even restless, angry and aggressive. Depression can feel like it’s taking over your life, and interfering with your ability to have fun, work, sleep, study and even eat.   If you can identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they seem to not go away, you may want to consider seeing a counselor:

o   You can’t sleep or you sleep too much

o   You can’t concentrate or find previously easy tasks difficult now

o   You feel helpless and hopeless

o   Your negative thoughts can’t be controlled, despite trying

o   You either just can’t stop eating, and have lost your appetite altogether

o   You are much more irritable than usual, or more aggressive or short-tempered

o   You have been consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless types of behaviors

o   You have been having thoughts that life isn’t work living (seek help immediately!)



It is important to also know that there are many faces of depression. The mere term depression is a pretty loaded word in our present culture. Its association is at many times wrongly associated with weakness and excessive emotion. It can be expressed as differing symptoms in men, women, teens and even older adults. Men with depression may experience pronounces feelings of aggression, violence, substance abuse, reckless behaviors or anger. On the other hand, women may express their depression as guilt, excessive sleeping, overeating, or gaining weight. In teens, irritability is common, and symptoms of hostility and being easily angered may appear, and even unexplained aches and pains. Older adults who are depressed may express increased physical symptoms, and it is important to know that depression is not a normal part of aging.

The Road to Depression Recovery

It is important to know that what works for one person might not work for another. It is important to seek professional help to assist you in finding your own “road to recovery” and explore the many treatment options. Even if you feel that the thought of tackling your depression seems overwhelming, don’t panic, but start small and ask for help. Therapy can help you work through the root of your depression and help you to understand why you feel a certain way, and what you can do to stay healthy!

  • Ask for professional help and support
  • Make healthy lifestyle changes
  • Build stronger emotional skills






Diane Chandler is the Graduate Counseling Intern within the Stepping Stones program at Step By Step Counseling, LLC.