3 Types Of Depression: Which One Rings True For You?

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How to tell whether your depression will pass on its own or if you require professional assistance.

Nicole is having an "off" day. She didn't do well on her history exam and isn't sure what her plans are for the weekend. I guess you could say that Nicole has a case of the blues.

As the day progresses, she shakes off the history exam and figures out a way to earn some extra credit to make up for the less-than-stellar grade. Later that night, her friend Jim calls and asks if she is going to the party at Jake's house. She says that she didn't know about the party but will attend nonetheless. Are All Guys A**holes?

Nicole calls Ginny and tells her about the party and they agree to go together. As Nicole falls asleep that night, life feels okay once again.

Nicole is having what we all experience on a regular basis — transient feelings based on temporary circumstances. As she moves through her day, things happen that trigger certain thoughts and feelings, one of which is what we call depression. It's really more a feeling of disappointment, loss, or concern rather than "true" depression. It usually comes and goes with ease, depending on the circumstances at hand.

If you find yourself feeling the blues, don't worry. Circumstances are always changing and your mood will change right along with them. Just keep your eye out for unnecessary changes in mood. Try not to let circumstances control your emotional state. Rather, allow circumstances to come and go without disrupting your overall mood. Sometimes this is hard to do but it is definitely worth the effort. Are You a Good Listener?

Jessica comes home from a long day at work. Her boss chewed her out for errors found in the report Jessica turned in that day. Her son looks up at her as she opens the door and sets down her purse. He mumbles hello and then goes back to his video game. There are dirty dishes and dirty clothes scattered about. Her husband is away once again on a business trip.

As Jessica makes her way into the kitchen to begin figuring out what they will eat for dinner, she catches a glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror. She notices just how tired and ragged she looks. She realizes just how depressed she feels.

You have probably felt like Jessica at one time or another. It's that feeling of having never-ending responsibilities and demands. You find yourself pushing the snooze button more than once in the mornings. You no longer care what you wear on the weekends or how you look in general. You either tune out the ones you love or snap back when they tell you they have no clean clothes to wear the next day and ask if you will please do their laundry.

You manage to get through each day and take care of your responsibilities but the joy and light-heartedness has disappeared. You know you need something to look forward to but you are unsure if that something will ever come. Understanding Stress & How To Manage It

Jessica's depression is an example of what we call "dysthymia." In essence, it means that you have an ongoing low-grade depression that affects the quality of your life but does not impair your ability to live life pretty much on track day to day. It usually creeps up gradually and is related to life taking more from you than it gives.

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Julie Orlov

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Julie Orlov, MAOL, MSW, LCSW
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