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.