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The Good News About Bad Feelings
Posted: 3/2/2011 | Personal Development Comments
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Are you feeling blue, or are you really depressed?

It’s normal to feel sad sometimes. Part of being human is to occasionally fall into a funk, or feel down in the dumps. We might be feeling grief from a loss, or we might feel unhappy, withdrawn and pensive for other reasons. It can be great opportunity to practice self-care and further expand our awareness of our feelings. But how do you know if you’re in a funk, or actually depressed?

People often confuse depression with normal sadness, or “the blues.” A clinical depression can have a huge impact on our physical, emotional and mental well-being. As with sadness, there are many degrees of depression. It can affect our sleep and eating habits. We might gain or lose weight. We might lie awake in the middle of the night or barely keep our eyes open all day.

There are many different causes for clinical depression. Some people are genetically predisposed, while others lean toward depression because of environmental factors. Physical causes range from thyroid issues or allergies to heart disease and stroke. Treatments vary, too. Some do really well with medication and psychotherapy. Others thrive in a psychotherapy relationship without medication.

Well-meaning friends or family might advise us to get up and take a walk, or worse, shake it off- and we can’t! Clinical depression can leave us completely immobilized, feeling stuck and unable to accomplish ordinary tasks. Activities that used to seem achievable or even bring us joy seem impossible and meaningless. With this level of depression, we simply can’t “will” ourselves better.

To make things worse, sometimes we feel guilty for feeling depressed, and we can be brutal about it. Some of us beat ourselves up for something outside of our “control,” at a time when kindness is most needed. Depression is not your fault! Be gentle, and cut yourself some slack. You’re might be doing the very best you can.

So are you clinically depressed? Take a look at the following questions and see if they ring true for you:

  1. Do you feel depressed most of the day, nearly every day?
  2. Have you lost interest in your normal daily activities, especially those that use to bring you pleasure?
  3. Have you lost or gained weight recently within 5% in either direction, and have you noticed a significant increase or decrease in appetite?
  4. Do you sleep too much or too little nearly every night?
  5. Do you repeatedly pace, tap your foot, wring your hands or otherwise repeat movement?
  6. Do you feel fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day?
  7. Do you feel worthlessness or excessive guilt nearly every day?
  8. Do you feel a diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions on a daily basis?
  9. Do you have recurring thoughts of death or suicide? Have you ever made plans for suicide, or made an attempt?

If you answered yes to five or more of these questions, you need professional support now. Your doctor, health care practitioner or psychotherapist will help you determine the best course of action to have you feel strong and well again.

And here’s the good news: there is hope! Lot’s of hope! Time by it’s self heals little if anything But with time and guidance, we can learn to process our feelings and eventually, we can express and manage them more easily. We can experience ourselves as vital and free. This is the road to a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life.


Lauren       Posted: 3/3/2011 8:11:10 AM

What if you go through long periods - weeks or months - of feeling like this, but it''s not all the time?

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