Have I got depression?

When it comes to mental health and emotional well-being, one of the most searched phrases on google is “Have I got depression?”

Depressed, sad, low
Feeling sad, low or depressed?

And of course, as most of us now know, the answer is a definite “maybe”. The truth is that there isn’t a blood test or a brain scan out there (although great strides are being made here) that will give us a definitive answer. And worse…even if we had a definitive answer, what do we do with it?

The thing is, the “have I or haven’t I” debate is only the first part of the issue. The more important debate is: “Whether I have or haven’t got depression, what do I do about feeling so low?”

How do I get diagnosed?

Firstly, ask yourself this: “How important is it that I get a diagnosis of depression?” Strange question, right? Yet this is often where I start when working with clients. For many people, the need to be ‘told’ (diagnosed) by a professional that they are depressed is an important part of their recovery journey and a START marker to getting the help they need. For others, no diagnosis necessary, they just want to get on with the work of feeling better. They don’t need anyone to tell them how low they are. They already know.

Having studied these opposing perspectives in people for a number of years, I can honestly conclude that neither perspective is either better or worse. Just different. In general, I’ve found that: People who seek diagnosis are more likely to subscribe to a medical mindset and the phrase “well, if I had a heart condition or diabetes, I’d be seeking treatment” and are more likely to agree a course of meds. People who are more philosophical in nature and who subscribe to the idea that “life’s a bitch and then you die” are less likely to seek out medical help or diagnosis; accepting that existential angst is a normal part of being human. They are more likely to enlist the services of a private therapist under their own steam.

Just to be clear!All the research studies show that the most effective treatment for depression is a mix of both meds and talking therapy.

So back to the original question. Have you got depression? Here are some of the most reported psychological symptoms of depression:

  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem 
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others 
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

If you have been feeling or experiencing five or more of the above symptoms for more than a two-week period AND this represents a different picture to how you normally feel or function, then NOW is the time to act.

Call your GP and make that appointment to discuss your options or reach out to many services available to you online.