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Unread 09-12-2017, 10:15 AM   #1
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Default Am I Depressed? - The Million Dollar Question

Am I Depressed? Ė The Million Dollar Question

Iíve been researching depression online for a few months now; ever since I started considering the possibility that I have it. And, while most articles and descriptions concede that depression varies just as people themselves vary, there do seem to be common experiences and common signs that help determine whether someone is depressed. And, after all this research and attempted self-reflection, honestly, I still canít figure it out.

Numb Feeling
This one, I have to say, Iíve never had. When Iím at my lowest, and the negative thoughts are winning the day, I feel more of a deep dread, almost like a dull panic festering in my chest. But, itís definitely a feeling I experience, not a numbness.

Low Energy
I donít really have the ďunable to get out of bedĒ issue. Sometimes, I do lie in bed, not wanting to get up, but I feel like thatís pretty common behavior. Who really wants to go to work? There was only one day I just couldnít bring myself to get up and go to work (I think it was after a night of really bad sleep) , and then I spent the day at home just feeling guilty. I wouldnít say Iím a ďhigh-energyĒ individual, but for the most part, I get up every day and do what I need to do.

Diet
Poor. My diet is poor, and I know it. Iím chubby, and I eat foods that are bad for me. And, I donít really exercise, other than taking walks every now and then. But, I donít necessarily think Iíve been eating more, or out of sadness. Iíve always had a poor diet. When I was kid though, I played a lot of sports, which evened it out. I just donít exercise enough anymore to balance out what I eat, and at my age, that stuff just catches up to you.

Poor Sleep
This one I have. I either canít get to sleep, or I will get to sleep and wake up at 3:00 in the morning and be unable to get back to sleep. But, not every night. I say I have 2-3 messed up nights of sleep during the week. I usually make up for my poor sleep during the week by getting more on the weekends, but that sometimes feels like too much sleep. Sleep aids havenít done anything for me, but I havenít tried anything stronger. Usually itís my overactive brain keeping me up, either with anxious thoughts or, even worse, those terrible, negative ones.

Low Self-Esteem
And, check. This might be the most glaring example (well, this and the next one) of my potential depression. Iím not sure if itís possible to be born with low self-esteem, but it certainly feels that way. And for reasons I canít understand. I grew up in a very supportive environment, and I was never bullied or the sufferer of some sort of emotional trauma. Somehow, Iíve just never thought much of myself. Chubby, unattractive, fake, unimportant. The only thing Iíve ever felt confident in is my intelligence. I do think Iím a smart person. But, considering I havenít made much, if anything, of myself, or done anything worthwhile with my life often makes me feel worse.

Self-Medicating
This one I also have. I wasnít really a big drinker in college. Maybe once a week or something. Now, I drink just about every day. Not too much (because my hangovers have become unbearable, and I canít handle it anymore), but 1-2 drinks per day, sometimes 3. Iím not sure if this qualifies as an addiction. I donít get drunk enough to do or say stupid things. And I usually drink at home, so I never drive. Just enough to calm all the stuff that goes on in my brain. But, either way, I understand that itís getting out of hand.

Suffering Relationships
I have a really supportive family and great friends. Iíve never told anyone that I might be depressed. Iím sure theyíd be good about it, but Iíve never said anything; mostly because Iím not sure if there is anything to tell. The relationships I do have feel strong. Iím close with my family and friends. The only big relationship snag is that Iíve never had a romantic relationship. And Iím old enough where that starts to be pretty embarrassing. The feeling that Iím not good enough for anyone to want is real and strong, and Iím starting to believe it all the way down to my soul.

Suicidal Thoughts
This one is tricky. Have I ever seriously considered killing myself? No. Iíd be too scared to ever do such a thing, and I wouldnít want to do that to my family and friends. Have I thought about the concept of suicide? Sure. And sometimes it certainly feels like if I were gone, apart from some initial sadness, the world would continue just as it always has. Everyone would eventually be fine once again; maybe even pretty quickly. So, yes, Iíve thought about it, but Iíve never attempted it, or even come close to attempting it.

So, thatís all of it. Thatís basically everything Iíve learned about depression and about myself, but I still donít know what to make of it all. On one hand, it sometimes feels like Iím just complaining. Like Iím trying to find something to blame for my life not turning out the way Iíd hoped. If I have depression, then I get a pass and an explanation for all my failures. Plus, Iíd probably get some sympathy too. On the other hand, I know depression is serious, and if I do have it, I should be getting help. Doctors and medication terrify me, but I know the good they can do for people.

I donít have the answers, and I donít necessarily expect anyone out there to have the answers. But, I just needed a place to get my thoughts out. Writing them down has been very beneficial. Thank you for listening, and I wish you all the best.
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Unread 09-12-2017, 12:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Am I Depressed? - The Million Dollar Question

Hi!
I had a very bad patch for some long years, and then I worked through it and I'm all good now. So that being so, here's what I think about your situation.

I think if I spent a few months reading about depression and watching myself and assessing my moods to determine if I was depressed or not, it would absolutely depress me. You find what you are looking for.

I get that you want to put a label on whatever you're feeling to kind of explain it. But once you have that label, do you feel better, or worse? Depression is a really serous label to choose for yourself.

I mean, how does anyone know for sure that you have depression anyway? When a therapist talks to you for an hour and says that you do? When someone in a forum says you do? And what exactly is depression? No one can really say exactly. And if one day you feel better, are you cured? If you feel better for three days, are you cured? What about six weeks? People get trapped in the idea that they're depressed when they could otherwise take positive steps to feel better.

Your perception of your situation can make an enormous difference about how bad you feel and how long that bad feeling lasts. I think your individual situation and the unique things that are troubling you are far more important than an arbitrary diagnosis from a stranger. I mean, you had at least as many reasons you aren't depressed in your list than you are.

You might feel like crap right now, and you might feel bad about yourself, and maybe you have for a long time. My parents are both very negative and sad and they basically taught me that mindset from birth.

But you are completely capable of changing that. There are serious step by step things you can do to rewire your brain for better feelings and a better outlook. Your brain learns to interpret life the way it learns math or reading. And practicing those exercises can actually physically change your brain. The old negative neural pathways weaken and your positive ones strengthen. And then being positive is just your nature. The point is that you have all the power if you choose to harness it.

When you have a negative thought, you can question it instead of automatically believing it. There is a process of questioning negative thoughts called Inquiry. It was created by this lady Byron Katie. She is all over youtube walking people through it.

You can train your brain to notice what you want in the world. This post I wrote explains it in detail how I did it. A Good Life Discovered: Bullet Journal for Joy - Winterbritt

Please contact me if you have any questions! I love helping people find their happiness again.
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I have a blog at www.winterbritt.com where I walk you through ways to examine and shift your negative thoughts.

"I promise if you keep searching for everything beautiful in this world, eventually you will become it." Tyler Kent White
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Unread 09-13-2017, 11:00 AM   #3
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Unread 09-13-2017, 12:34 PM   #4
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Unread 09-13-2017, 03:16 PM   #5
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