Situational Vs. Clinical Depression

situational vs. clinical depression

Do you ever wonder if you are depressed?

I toggled with that question on and off for years.

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you are just going through a rough patch or if you are dealing with full fledged depression.

Maybe you went through a rough divorce a year ago and it brought up some unusual emotions that haven’t ceased since.

Perhaps you are stuck at a dead end job.  The whole wake up, go to work and do something you dislike, then go to sleep cycle is making you feel purposeless.

Heck, maybe you lost your job and you feel like a failure.

There are quite a few examples but there is no one situation fits all.

Everyone responds to experiences differently so there is no clear cut list of reasons why you might be down.

For others, depression is pretty damn clear and there is no obvious reason for it.

I want to break down a few key differences between Situational and Clinical Depression.

 

Situational Depression

Situational depression can loosely be defined as an inability to handle what life is currently throwing our way.

It can definitely feel like clinical depression if it goes on for long enough.

Throughout our lives I think it is safe to say that most people will at least deal with mild situational depression at some point.

Life throws curve balls, that is a fact, consequently very few are handed a free pass.

In fact if only for a brief stint, one might argue it is a beneficial experience although it may not feel like it at the time.

It can harden character and create new appreciation for little things when a person returns to baseline levels of happiness.

The good news is, people who suffer from situational depression are much more likely to recover without medications.

Talking to a Psychologist, undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, exercising, meditation, and a good diet are all great places to start.

Clinical Depression

Clinical Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder is often a lifelong battle.

People who have Clinical Depression display at least five signs of depressions at any given point.

These signs include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • aches and pains
  • hopelessness
  • irritability
  • loss of enjoyment
  • loss of interest
  • trouble concentrating
  • suicidal thoughts
  • mood swings

These symptoms are often serious enough to inhibit their ability to work, maintain friendships and relationships, or even leave the house.

Clinical Depression is almost always linked to imbalances in neurotransmitters and/or hormones.

Symptoms are very often passed down through genetics, acquired through serious illness and or addiction.

Both illnesses require urgent attention and participation by said sufferer.

Furthermore, if mental health is left unchecked, ones physical health will  soon decline with it.

Those with clinical depression may best start off by visiting a doctor and discussing medication before any self harm is done.

 

One Simple (and Enjoyable) Way to Tell

One very simple way you can tell is by going on a vacation asap.

Go to the nicest place you can afford without breaking the bank.

Some moods and thought patters you may experience that can help you determine your mental state are:

  1. You feel happy while away from everything and don’t think about your problems all the time.   Situational.
  2. While waking up everyday on a beach in California or Miami you are thinking how shitty life is – you need to seriously take some steps towards improving your mental health.  Clinical.
  3. During your vacation you are happy but can’t stop dreading going back to work (anxiety).   Maybe it is a sign you need a new job.  Probably Situational.
  4. You are wishing you had somebody special to spend your vacation with – maybe it is time to put serious time into improving yourself.   Probably Situational.

Whether it is a 2-3 day vacation, 1 week, or 1 month+,  a vacation is always refreshing for the mind.

It will give you a chance to step out of your immediate environment and allow you to see things for what they really are!

 

 

 

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About the Author

Sharing my past experiences battling anxiety, fatigue and depression in hopes that I can help you with your own personal struggles.

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