Depression is an emotional alarm signal telling you that something needs your attention, whether it involves unresolved issues lingering from the past, or emotionally draining (usually interpersonal) struggles in the present or problematic changes in your brain chemistry that can affect your future. Most likely, it involves some combination of all three. It is a mood disorder that engages body, soul, and spirit alike, impacting the way you feel and act toward others. People with depression can often feel like life is not worth living, feeling hopeless and helpless, like there’s “no way out”.
Depression can also include physical symptoms, such as chronic fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleeping too little or too much, reduced or increased appetite, and various aches and pains, which can sometimes lead people to think they have a physical illness. But these symptoms, sometimes together with experiences of anxiety, irritation and anger, excessive guilt, or a general restlessness can indicate that you are likely depressed.
Once a diagnosis is made, antidepressant medication is often prescribed. But this is best coupled with psychotherapy. Medication and therapy together are usually more effective than either one alone. It’s important to remember that depression, though very painful, is designed to alert you to take action that will, in the long run, protect you from further injury.
The good news is that most people diagnosed with depression can experience a full recovery IF they are accurately diagnosed and correctly treated. We have devoted our professional lives to treating people like you and creating resources to help you.