Self, Health And Wellness

How To Tell Which Type Of Depression You're Experiencing — And Exactly What To Do About It

Photo: unsplash / Aryan Safabakhsh
The Different Causes & Types Of Depression And What To Do When Depressed

Are you noticing signs of depression, or even just feeling down and wondering, "Am I depressed?"

Learning how to deal with depression and what causes it in the first place can feel overwhelming.

If you don't know what to do when you're depressed, then it's important to learn about the types of depression and what actions you should take to feel better.

RELATED: There Are Two Different Types of Depression (And How They Each Sneak Up On You)

Has your life gotten to that place where you are feeling depressed, isolated, and lost all the time?

Are you feeling hopeless, alone, and full of dread, or worried about what the future will hold?

If you are, I am so sorry. Being depressed and feeling alone is a horrible place to be!

Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop feeling depressed, isolated and lost all the time.

1. Figure out why you're feeling depressed.

There are two types of depression: Situational and chemical (aka clinical depression). Both have similar symptoms and can lead to severe depression, but they have different causes.

Knowing what kind of depression you have is the first step to dealing with it.

Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad, like the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job, you can become situationally depressed.

This kind of depression usually has a beginning, caused by a specific event, and an end, and is often treated differently from chemical depression.

Chemical depression is the result of your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression, but it can also be caused by a traumatic life event, too. This depression can happen even if your life is going great.

So, ask yourself some questions about what your life looks like these days to help you figure out what kind of depression you might have.

2. Do what makes you feel good.

When you're feeling depressed, isolated, and lost, your inclination is to collapse into your life. You stay in bed, don’t shower or eat well, and cut off contact with those you love.

if you're feeling depressed, collapsing is absolutely the worst thing that you can do. Instead, it is important to do things that make you feel good.

For me, I keep a list of things to do when I am feeling depressed. When I am depressed, I do one (or all) of those things and my depression is often lifted.

So, what makes you happy? Write out a list (when you aren’t depressed) of what makes you happy so that when you are depressed, you are ready.

RELATED: The 6 Types Of Depression (And How You Can Tell The Difference)

3. Occupy your mind.

Unfortunately, when you're feeling depressed, your worst enemy is that brain of yours.

While lying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself, your brain is actively buying into it all.

You are a loser, it says. You have no friends. You aren’t good at anything. You will never find love. You suck at your job. And on and on.

And chances are that none of those things are true. But your brain, when you are depressed, just doesn’t go there.

It's really important to keep your brain busy when you're feeling this way. Yoga is a really good way to do this — you're so busy trying to figure out the pose that you don’t have a chance to think about anything.

It also has the side benefit of toning your body and making you feel strong, which can be helpful.

Other options for keeping your mind quiet are reading, going to a movie, hanging out with friends, or working.

Meditation is also an option if you already have the ability to do so. If you can do it, go for it!

What do you like to do that will help you quiet that mind of yours, the mind that is feeding into those feelings that are bringing you down? Figure it out and do it!

4. Carefully choose your company.

One of the most important things to manage when you're depressed is your environment. In your bed with your PJs on might feel the most comfortable, but it might not be the best option for getting better.

The same attention needs to be paid to who you spend time with when you're depressed. If there are people in your life who bring you down, then avoiding them when you aren’t doing well is very important.

My mother was very difficult to spend time with when I was depressed. She was always trying to talk me out of my depression by pretending that it didn’t exist or telling me to just snap out of it.

Both of those things just made me feel worse. So, I avoided her when I wasn’t doing well. It was best for both of us.

Consider who you shouldn’t spend time with when you are depressed and avoid them. On the same note, think about who would be a good person to be with and make a date with them right now!

5. Call your doctor.

If everything else fails and still you find yourself feeling depressed, then it’s time to call your primary care doctor.

Feeling consistently depressed and anxious might indicate some serious health problems and getting a complete check-up from your doctor could be really important.

Your doctor can take a look at all aspects of your life and help you come up with a plan for managing your depression and anxiety so that they don’t get worse. Which they will do if they are left untreated and allowed to persist.

Remember, your doctor won’t judge. There are lots of people who feel just like you do every day and that’s what doctors are there for — to help us all.

If you are feeling depressed, it’s important that you do something about it and do something about it now!

Do a quick assessment of your life and try to figure out what kind of depression you might have.

Depression can go away on its own if properly managed but will get worse if left untreated. So, try the things that I recommended above, but always pay attention to how you're doing. If you are getting worse and not better, get help!

RELATED: The 8 Types Of Depression (And The Best Way To Handle Each)

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.