Clinical Depression: How Do You Know it’s Not Just the Blues?

Clinical depression is something that’s talked about today in a way that it wasn’t 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, even just a few years ago, when someone was depressed, other people would typically tell them to just pick themselves up by their bootstraps and straighten out. Today, more people are aware that clinical depression isn’t something we can to shake off. But with all of the advertisements on television and radio for drugs like Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft and many other medications designed to help with depression, you can almost imagine yourself in need of them.

The commercials always start out with “do you feel sad?” and “do you feel this or that?” The problem is that most of us have felt like that at least once or twice in our lives. Some of us who are more prone to melancholy than others might feel that way on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean that we’re depressed–at least not depressed enough to need medication.

Someone who is clinically depressed really should look into getting medical help. But how do you know if what you’re feeling is normal and not clinical depression?

• Have you had suicidal thoughts? This one should be obvious but many people slip into this thinking so easily over a long period of time that it almost seems like a normal thing to think about. But if you’ve been considering what it would be like to die or what your friends or family would do afterwards, seek help immediately.
• Have you been depressed for more than a couple of weeks? Typical sadness doesn’t hang on as long as depression.
• Do you feel completely hopeless? That’s a warning sign of depression. Depression steals the hope you have that things will get better, while normal bouts of sadness let you still think that they’ll go away.

If you’re suffering from clinical depression or highly suspect that you are you do owe it to yourself to talk to someone. You may not need medication but just counseling to help you overcome some bad thinking habits that can lead to deeper depression. But even if you do need medication and therapy, you owe to yourself to look into it. There’s no point in feeling hopeless every day when it’s not necessary. You deserve to be happy and you owe it to yourself to do what you can to achieve it no matter how badly you feel or how hard it is to believe.