Is it Depression or just life?

I think this week as is good as any to write about depression. This has become such a buzzword over the past few years, which I think is a bit of blessing and a curse. I think it is wonderful that people are becoming more open (there is still a ways to go) to talking about depression and more educated about mental health in general. Creating awareness and understanding of any topic or issue, particularly something as important as mental health, is never a bad thing. However, I also think that because the term depression has become more mainstream it has also been allowed to be taken out of context.

There are several separate disorders that fall into the broad category of depressive disorders, according to the Diagnostic and Statics Manual Fifth Edition (DSM-V), also known as the bible for many in the mental health field. While I don’t care to go into each disorder separately, they all have in common a depressed mood (duh) and symptoms severe enough to interfere in daily life. I think that is one of key components of any disorder – interference in daily life. If it doesn’t upset your lifestyle than it may be just be a quirk.

I have noticed in the past couple of years that many individuals will come to counselling with a self-diagnosis of depression. While some clients may have a depressive disorder, many are going through a difficult situation. It seems that as a society we have forgotten how to feel or that we have a range of feeling. Life as a whole is stressful and there are ups and downs. It only makes sense that after a breakup or death you are feeling down. We need to give ourselves the opportunity to process and cope with difficult situations.

However, if you are struggling with a depressed mood that is interfering in your life and has lasted more than a couple of weeks, please check in with your doctor. Depressive disorders are common, but serious illnesses that require proper treatment, whether that be with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

We need to keep in mind life isn’t always roses and lollipops, but a prolonged period of sadness should not be holding us back either. If you have questions or concerns about depression or any other mental health issue, please check in with a medical professional.

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