Am I Depressed? What is Depression?

Many people experiencing depression do not realize that they are depressed. This is unfortunate. Because depression is a treatable condition. In fact, treatment outcomes for depression in many cases are quite good. People who have recovered from depression, with medication, therapy, or a combination of both, describe a transformative experience. Their world seems to change. People often use visual analogies to describe the experience. The world transforms from a place dull, grey, and full of shadows to a place full of light and color, a place of brightness.

Depression is difficult to talk about. People are often ashamed. Shame drives depression, feeds it.

Here’s the criteria used by a doctor, psychologist, or therapist to diagnose depression:

  • Feelings of sadness or emptiness most of the time, most days.
  • Decreased interest in or pleasure from most activities, most days.
  • Significant weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Feel like sleeping all the time, or unable to sleep when tired.
  • Fatigue, feeling little or no energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or persistent guilt.
  • Inability to concentrate, make decisions, most days.
  • Thoughts of death, suicide.

Mental health experts look for five or more of the above criteria experienced over a two-month period.

Depression is a treatable condition, covered by most forms of health insurance.


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