helpWe all know what depression feels like. Everyone feels blues at certain times. Discontent, sadness, and fatigue are all natural parts of our lives. There’s a relation between the blues and clinical depression, but the difference is like the difference between pneumonia and sniffles. Therefore, it can be quite difficult in identifying depression.

Depressive disorders are like an illness, and they touch the feelings, body, behavior and thoughts. Depression itself can make you feel as if there is no need to look for help, but the truth is 90 percent of people with depression can actually be treated successfully. The bad news, however, is that only one of three people seeks help. Additionally, only half of depression cases are diagnosed, and only half of these get proper treatment.

We are used to muddling sadness, grief, and depression, but the opposite of depression is vitality and not happiness. Vitality is the power to experience a full range emotion and that includes excitement, happiness, sadness and grief. Depression is not an emotion, and so it is not sadness or grief, but an illness by itself.

People with depression basically feel a lowered self-esteem. When depressed, you may feel like you are a defenceless victim of fate and feel like you do not deserve any better. Feelings of shame, hopelessness and guilt are quite common.

There is often an array of physical symptoms of which sleep disturbances are key. You may have trouble falling asleep or even wake up without feeling refreshed or relaxed. You may also sleep excessively, and you wont feel relaxed or rested. You may experience appetite increase or decrease, and you may have difficulty in sexual functioning. Ideally, you may experience aches and pains that do not respond to medical treatments. However, there are illnesses that cause symptoms like depression, and they include diabetes, anaemia and thyroid conditions.

If you feel depressed, it is important that you are sure that an underlying health problem is not the cause, and you should consult a medical practitioner for a check up. Ideally, if you know you have a health issue and you are depressed, do not assume that you will feel better once the health condition is under control.

Identifying Depression

In identifying depression, it is a sequential process:

The first is a stage of confused pain in which the victim knows he or she suffers, but they do not know why. Individuals often blame circumstances. Teenagers blame their home lives, married people blame their partners, and the employees blame their bosses. However, there is no recognition that the pain is not ordinary.

The second stage is realizing there is definitely something amiss. It might be that external circumstances have changed, but the pain remains. Ideally, it may be a gradual recognition that the suffering is so serious that it can’t be blamed on circumstances. This slow painful recognition often takes years, and it is an acknowledgment of a damaged self. However, due to the nature of depression, the gut and self-blame are the manifestations of the disease as this kind of acceptance does not always lead the individual to seek help.

An individual may then move to the thirds stage; at this level it is often a crisis that leads to intervention and diagnosis by a profession. It is usually a psychiatric hospitalization or a suicide attempt. Diagnosis often brings hope, that treatment or cure is possible and explanation as well as a way to understand what has just been a confusion all along. Ideally, the fact that it is a diagnosis of an illness, with all the shame and the stigma it entails.

The fourth and final stage is acceptance if an illness identity. Here, depression is finally seen as an outside agent invading an individual rather than a manifestation of the self.

It is, therefore, important that any person suffering from depression seeks good help from a qualified reputable professional. If the signs are obvious, always seek a diagnosis. Consulting a professional with your problems could prove embarrassing, at worse, if the problem is juts a seasonal case of blues that can be treated without the need for medical attention. But the potential cost of failing to diagnose a serious depression case far outweighs any concern about the embarrassment you fear.