Sadness is a normal human emotion and we've all experienced it and we all will again. It is usually triggered by a challenging situation or experience. It can also be triggered by loss of a loved one, divorce, job loss, and/or conflict in relationships. When we have adjusted to the change, most often our sadness subsides and our sadness is alleviated. Depression is mental illness. It is an abnormal emotional state that affects our thinking, emotions, and behaviors in all areas of our lives and in chronic ways. Depression does not necessarily require a specific situation or trigger and most often occurs without any triggers. Depression takes away our motivation and depletes our energy and our ability to enjoy the things in life that brought us happiness. You can also experience irritability, anger, and impatience which affects the relationships in your life. Well-meaning people in your life will often offer advice or tell you that things like, "we all have bad days" or even, "snap out of it!"
To be diagnosed with depression, you need to experience five of the following symptoms:
1. Depressed or irritable mood most of the time.
2. A loss of pleasure in most activities that you once enjoyed.
3. Weight and appetite changes.
4. Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
5. Feeling slowed down or restless most days.
6. Low energy most days.
7. Feeling a sense of worthlessness or feeling guilty most days.
8. Difficulty staying focused, concentrating, or making decisions most days.
9. Having thoughts of dying or suicide.
Treatment will focus on obtaining a thorough history, as well as identifying current stressors, and a treatment plan will be developed incorporating your identified therapeutic goals helping you move toward a healthier state of mind where you find pleasure in life, feel more motivated, and feel that you have a life worth living.