Mothers. Daughters. Fathers. Sons. Spouses. Friends. Parents. Grandparents. Aunts. Uncles. Bosses. Employees. Co-workers. Depression can strike anyone at any age. Depression can look like a woman forcing a smile despite the promotion she just earned. Depression can look like an eight-year-old boy who sits out of recess and will not finish his lunches. Depression can look like a man at the gym, trying to shake off that feeling. Depression strikes indiscriminately—men and women, young and old, rich and poor, every race and ethnicity.
While there are common characteristics, each individual experiences depression in a unique way. They may have good days, but there are far too many bad days. Because it is a unique mental illness, it can be hard to recognize. It can also be hard for loved ones to be supportive of their depressed friend, co-worker, or family member. But understanding is possible. So is treatment and healing. Many people are living more and more good days and less and less of the bad days by working with a mental health professional to treat their depression.
That is why Thriveworks Counseling in Waltham, MA offers depression counseling. Our counselors, psychologists, and therapists know that better days are possible, and we have helped many people find the help they needed for their depression. You can be one of those people.
More Than Just a Bad Day: What Is Depression?
When people have depression, sometimes they wish that they had physical symptoms, like a rash or a temperature—something that others could see and know how much pain they feel. The truth is that people may not be able to see depression, but it is real nonetheless. In fact, it is a mental illness in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
“Sad hurts, but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel.
Depression is very different.”
The DSM-5 outlines specific criteria for Major Depressive Disorder—the clinical term for what most people call depression. Major Depressive Disorder is far from the regular sadness, disappointment, and discouragement that all people feel—feelings that come and go. Major Depressive Disorder is an illness that may need medical intervention. Here are the signs for it. Think about your own experiences as you read through the diagnostics. Do you recognize anything?
- During a consecutive two-week period, you experience changes that include at least two of the following, one of which must be a loss of interested in regular activities or a depressed mood
- You feel depression for the majority of the day, on more days than not—a feeling that you and your loved ones notice.
- You are experiencing a loss of interest in your regular activities, for the majority of the day, on more days than not.
- You have gained or lost a substantial amount of weight and have an accompanying increase or decrease in appetite.
- You have developed hypersomnia (want to sleep all the time) or insomnia (have difficulty sleeping).
- Your psychomotor skills (dexterity, speed, coordination, strength, et cetera) have deteriorated in a way that others observe.
- You feel lethargic for much of the day, on more days than not.
- You experience feelings of guilt and worthlessness on a daily basis.
- Your ability to concentrate, make decisions, or think has been hindered.
- You are plagued by frequent thoughts of suicide and/or death.
- You have attempted suicide.
- These symptoms will cause distress within your life and impair your ability to function in daily life.
- The symptoms cannot be the result of the physiological effects of another medical condition or a substance.
- The depressive episode cannot be more adequately explained by schizophrenia spectrum disorder or another psychotic disorder.
- You have not had a hypomanic or manic episode.
Depression is an unforgiving and ruthless illness, but there are ways to fight back. There are treatment options available for depression, and many people rediscover happiness and hope in their lives. No one has to fight alone. Mental health professionals can often lead the way and offer support.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Because depression manifests itself uniquely in each individual, people often need to work with a therapist to find the right diagnosis and the right treatment for them. In general, treatment plans for depression usually include a multi-faceted approach that involves medication and a form of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a methodology that involves processing difficult feelings and learning coping mechanisms for them. Mental health professionals can lead clients through exercises that may allow depression’s symptoms to subside. Medication includes antidepressants, like SSRIs and SNRIs, are often used in treatment plans for depression. Different drugs have different effects on different people. It is important to work with a qualified mental health professional to find the right medication for you.
Scheduling Therapy for Depression at Thriveworks Counseling in Waltham, MA
If you are ready to work with a counselor or therapist about the symptoms of depression that you are experiencing, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Counseling in Waltham, MA. When you call our office, you may have your first appointment the following day (as long as that works for you!). We also accept many different insurances. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks in Waltham today at (781) 309-9149.