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When You Aren't Just Sad.

How do you know if you're just sad or suffering clinical depression? Sometimes it's obvious, sometime it's not, and it should never be ignored.

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Sadness happens to us all. Sometimes life just sucks and being sad means you're human. However, when that sadness lingers (beyond a week or two) and especially when it isn't a response to something specific in life (such as death, divorce, finals week) then it is time to see if it isn't something more. Depression is easily diagnosed, and easily treated. However, if you follow Elsa's advice and just let things go, your fate will be a lot worse than it would otherwise be with treatment.

Suffering from fatigue and loss of energy most every day?

There is a reason why those of us with mental health issues consider ourselves spoonies. If you can relate to it taking a whole day's worth of energy to simply roll out of bed and get dressed, and this is happening more often than not, it's time to see a doctor. Even if it isn't depression, this isn't actually normal. Mind you, I'm not referring to the times you stay up all night studying, and then can't roll out of bed for class. That sucks too, but, I mean when you just slept a solid 8 to 10 to 12 hours and you still have no energy, and this is the norm. Please go see your doctor.

Suffering from constant insomnia? Or excessive sleeping?

If it isn't one, it's the other. And neither lead to a happy and healthy life. Especially when paired with the rest of these symptoms, it's time to seek help.

Do you feel worthless? Guilty? Ashamed of who you are? All the time?

Yeah see, that's not normal. That's not a good thing, That's not how you want to live life. It is normal to feel guilty if you've actually done something wrong. And a bit of worthlessness after bombing a huge test is also kind of normal. But if those feelings linger it's time to seek help. Especially since you are worth so much. Especially if you are beating yourself up and didn't even fail a test. Especially if that test was a week ago. Please go seek help. You don't have to feel this way.

Feeling irritable and restless?

You know that feeling where it's like you can't sit still but there isn't really anything you're suppose to get up and do, but you go ahead and get up and wander to the kitchen? Maybe you open the fridge? Nope a chocolate mini bar doesn't magically appear. God chocolate sounds so good right now. Wow, you'd kill for some chocolate right now. Dammit why do you not have any chocolate!? You should go buy some! No. That means going to the store and that means public and that means not looking like this. (Here is where you glance down and realize you've been wearing these clothes for the better part of a week.) Meh. At least they're comfy. No. Not going out. Screw the chocolate. So you wander back to your computer, going the long way because you just don't really want to have to sit still. Wow is your roommate really playing her music that loud? You can almost make out all the words of the current song all the way in here. Wow she is so inconsiderate to your needs of no ear pollution. Ugh! Fine you'll go sit down now. Time to put on your own headphones (See this is how it's done, stupid roommate!!!) and maybe blast some angry music until you go deaf. And ugh. You really need that chocolate. Time to go recheck the fridge. Wow, has she really not realized how loud her music is?

Oh, you CAN relate to all that? Go get help!

(Also, blasting angry music directly into your ears is only going to lead to a different kind of need for help.)

Loosing interest in, well, life and everything?

Use to read a book a day and now it's a book a month, maybe? Use to be up to date, never missed an episode of your favorite show, but now it's all "Meh it isn't that good anyway and I can always hulu it later"? Suddenly not showing up to activities? Missing sports games you always use to be the loudest fan of? The thought of sex no longer even remotely interesting? Point blank: Have you lost interest in having fun and enjoying life, and you don't even care? There is a doctor for that.

Suddenly eating everything in sight?

Or maybe you haven't eaten all day and you don't even feel hungry? First, go eat something please. I get that you don't feel hungry, but your body needs the fuel for you to heal. Even a bowl of cereal. Now, before you regret the weight you pack on, or making yourself sick due to not eating, go to your doctor!

Do you feel sick?

I don't mean you caught the flu going around. I mean the constant feeling of nausea that won't go away. Or the constant headache unlike you've ever had before that laughs at aspirin. Or maybe it's a general achy feeling laughing at the pain meds. Here is the deal: you are treating those aches and pains with the very wrong kind of meds. It's amazing how physically sick depression can leave you feeling. It's the body's way of telling you something is wrong. Time to pass along the news to your doctor.

Have you lost your ability to cry?

Ok, this is one the professionals don't tell you about. It's not in their medical books. This is one you only really know about if you've been there. But when you're sad, you cry about what is making you sad. When you're depressed, well, tears take energy and forget that noise! You are so deeply upset and sad and depressed to your core, yet you haven't shed a tear for basically as far back as you can remember and it's not because you don't cry, you're just too numb. NUMB. Depression is numbing. And then suddenly out of the blue with no warning you watch some movie or show and ok it's kind of sad maybe but not "ugly cry with snot pouring down your face and everyone is wonder what's your deal," sad. That, my dear, is depression. Go talk to someone.

Thoughts of suicide or even attempts.

I'm going to get really serious right now. You listening? These thoughts? They aren't ok. I don't care if you simply feel you'd be better off just not waking up one morning, or if you actually have a plan. If you are feeling this I want you to go get help now. And should you really have a plan, or generally feel unsafe with yourself, that help does not involve a phone and making an appointment with your doctor. I want you to go to the closest emergency room. Now. These thoughts are neither healthy nor normal and you do indeed need help!

Ok, you think/agree you need help. Now what?

It's as simple as going to your regular doctor. If it's just a case of clinical depression, he can most likely treat you for it and will probably put you on an anti-depressant.

You don't want medication you say? Well how about an improved quality of life? It's worth it.

If he thinks you need more help than what he can comfortably give you, don't panic and ask for a referral. The medical world knows the medical world and they teamwork more than you think. He can probably recommend someone great. Just make sure they take your insurance as this care is expensive otherwise. However, the great ones have a system in place to make sure all patients can afford their care based on income. So no need to stress about that. It'll get figured out.

Just take a deep breath, start with your doctor, and don't deny yourself the help you need due to fear of receiving the help you need. I know that sounds crazy to some, but I've been there and I get it.

Take the first step and pick up the phone. You are worth it and so much more!

You've made the call but you feel so isolated with all this.

Ok, the next step I took was to look for online blogs written by those suffering ill mental health, for those suffering ill mental help. A simple google search can and will take you to a community in place to help you through. We've all been where you are now, and we'd all be happy to show you the light at the end of the tunnel. (The recovery light, not the oncoming train. That train only exists if you don't get help because that is a whole other tunnel.)

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