I am depressed... What to do?...

The experience of depression is like falling into a deep, dark hole that you cannot climb out of. Your scream as you fall, but it seems like no one hears you.

Some days you float upward without even trying; on other days, you wish that you would hit bottom so that you would never fall again. Depression affects the way you interpret events.

It influences the way you see yourself and the way you see other people. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking that I was the ugliest creature in the world.

Later in life, when some of these ideas would come back, I learned to remind myself that I did not have those thoughts yesterday and chances were that I would not have them tomorrow or the next day. It is a little like waiting for a change in the weather.

(written by Katie, 16)

(Taken from ‘Essentials of Abnormal Psychology’ by Durand, V.M. & Barlow, D.H.)

by Elia Strange


For most people depression is an experience of sadness, sometimes – a profound sadness.
If you are like most people, you know that the feeling of depression is temporary and it will pass in several days or so. The experience of Katie (above) is what can be diagnosed as depressive disorder, which belongs to a group of Mood Disorders.

The most commonly diagnosed and most severe depression is called a major depressive episode.
This diagnosis means that you experience an extremely depressed mood state that lasts at least 2 weeks and includes cognitive symptoms (such as feelings of worthlessness and indecisiveness) and disturbed physical functions (such as altered sleeping patterns, significant changes in appetite and weight, or a notable loss of energy) to the point that even the slightest activity or movement requires an overwhelming effort.

Have you lost interest in things and activities that you used to do before? Do you have any pleasure in interacting with your family and friends? These symptoms are very important, as they might be indicators of a depressive episode.

Why is it important?

Because the average duration of major depressive episode, if untreated, is approximately 9 months. And in some cases, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.

See in the list below if you can recognise any of the characteristics of major depressive episode in yourself:

Disorder Criteria Summary

(or what they look for when they need to diagnose you):

Major Depressive Episode

Features of a major depressive episode include:

• Depressed mood most of the day (or irritable mood in children or adolescents)

• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most daily activities

• Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or significant decrease or increase in appetite

• Ongoing insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too little or too much)

• Psychomotor agitation or retardation (too much tension and anxiety, or the opposite - apathy, loss of interest in most activities)

• Fatigue or loss of energy

• Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

• Diminished ability to think or concentrate

• Recurrent thoughts of death, suicide ideation, or suicide attempt

• Clinically significant distress or impairment

• Not associated with bereavement

• Persistence for longer than 2 months

(Taken from ‘Essentials of Abnormal Psychology’ by Durand, V.M. & Barlow, D.H)

Sometimes depression can overlap with anxiety and other psychological disorders.
Sometimes, there was an event which made you feel depressed for a long time.

Stress and trauma are the main causes of depressive episode. In any case, it can create negative and distorted thinking.

What can you do?

If you think that you have depression that may be diagnosed, then you might want to visit your doctor and get a referral for counselling or a psychotherapeutic session.

The doctor can also give you a prescription for anti-depressant medication, which helps many people to cope with an episode.

Or you can read my other articles such as How to reduce stress instantly, What to do when you are stressed, or How to be happy in this 'unhappy' world.

Other articles you might be interested in:

Do I have Anxiety Disorder?

How to get a good night sleep

Symptoms and Signs of Stress

How well can you cope with stress? (Test)

... or go to:

Article Archives

Article Archives (Page 2)

Coping with Stress (HOME PAGE)

'Am I depressed' Article Reference:
Durand, V.M. & Barlow, D.H. (2006). Essentials of Abnormal Psychology

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Or follow me on Twitter and Google+
by clicking on the symbols below:

Sign up below
to receive my free email newsletter with new fresh articles to help you to become healthier and happier.
It's sent about once a month. No spam. No sharing of your email address. Easily unsubscribe at any time.

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Stress-Explained.

Best Articles:

10 tips to strengthen your marriage

Best ways to manage your stress

How to get what you want (the Law of Attraction)

Why do I need to eat healthy?

Signs and stages of stress

13 Facts about sugar addiction

7 Reasons for our unhappiness

Why people commit suicide

How to get a good night sleep

Try these Tests and Quizzes:

Is it time to take stress seriously?

How well do you know yourself?

Can you talk to teenagers?

Do you have a time to recreate?

Can you cope with stress well?

The Latest Articles:

Green Smoothie Recipe

Stress in Parents and Carers of disabled children (VIDEO)

Did you find your dream job yet?

Is an eye mask good for sleeping?

How to look and appear confident

Why am I tired all the time?

Exercise tips: 8 easy ideas for losing weight and become fitter

15 Sure signs that you are stressed

Are memory foam mattresses worth it?

How stress affects your health: What stress is doing to your body

How to get what you want (the Law of Attraction)

How to be more patient

How to deal with SAD: Autumn depression

How to stop negative thinking

How bad is your memory? (Fun Quiz)

What is love - in children words

How to make people like you?

Why do I forget things?

10 Tips to strengthen your marriage

Would you move abroad?

Are holidays worth it?