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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » How can you tell if you have depression?

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Author Topic: How can you tell if you have depression?
Alaskagirl16
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I'm constantly feeling down, or feeling like I'm about to cry if one little thing upsets me. My junior year starts tomorrow and I don't want this feeling carrying around with me at school. How can I make it go away on my own? I can't seem to make myself appreciate anything I do, and I never feel good enough for anyone
Posts: 63 | From: America | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karybu
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Depression is something that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional - you can't just make it go away on your own. So, the first step is making an appointment with a doctor, who will then be able to refer you to any other mental health professional who may be necessary.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Johann7
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You may NOT be able to make it go away on your own. I've struggled with Bipolar II since grade school, and I resisted psychiatric treatment until my second year of college, when it destroyed my ability to meet course requirements (mostly attendance and deadlines) and I almost failed out. I didn't like the idea of a daily mood-altering drug regimen, and it took $10,000 in wasted tuition and the very real possibility of sabotaging my future goals to finally get me to seek professional help.

I'm not saying this only to terrify you or make things seem hopeless (I know how hopeless depressive episodes can make you feel all on their own); I'm saying it to encourage you to seek professional help BEFORE things get even worse (as they did for me; they may not for you, of course). The only way to "tell" that you have any sort of mood disorder is for it to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist/psychologist. It sounds like you have severe self-esteem issues, which can be both triggers for or the result of clinical depression.

If you do decide to seek treatment, don't necessarily give up if the first person or two you talk to doesn't help you much or at all. It took me six years of seeing different psychiatrists and psychologists to find someone who clicked with me enough to really help. Keep in mind, too, that depression isn't necessarily a permanent condition, that drugs aren't always necessary for treatment, and that (if they are) drug therapies have come a long way in the last ten years. In fact, a lot of managing depression has to do with lifestyle changes and changes in how we think about and enact our relationships with ourselves and others. A good psychologist can offer techniques that will make managing depression, with or without drug treatment, much easier and therefore make your life much happier and more fulfilling.

As for antidepressants, once one finds the right drug or combination of drugs, and contrary to one popular belief, they don't make you incapable of being sad (or happy) or make you less yourself. What they DO do is to eliminate or minimize the impact of that feeling of helpless despair at the slightest problem or even for no reason. When you're on the right one, it lets you be MORE yourself, because you can get your self-determination back instead of being rendered helpless by the depressive episode.

One last piece of advice I can offer if you do seek psychiatric treatment: always remember that the psychiatrist is there to help you; s/he's working for you. If you don't feel like you can be honest or you don't feel like the sessions/drugs are working, speak up about it. Let him/her know, and if necessary look for another doctor who can help you more. I found this to be one of the hardest parts of therapy: the doctor is, by default, in a position of authority, and disagreeing with him/her or making myself vulnerable when I wasn't completely comfortable was especially hard during a depressive episode. Remember, they're there to help YOU, and you're in control of the relationship. Accepting that knowledge would have saved me a lot of time (and money).

If you want to do this on your own because you don't want to tell your parents, try talking to a school counselor first. That way you'll have someone else there and some support when you have to talk to your parents. I hope you can find some help; I wouldn't even wish depression on my worst enemy. I urge you at the very least to talk to a school counselor; that's what they're there for. There's absolutely no shame in seeking help for a problem you're having, and it can do one a world of good. Best wishes.

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AponiKanti
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The only way to truly know you're depressed is to be diagnosed with it, like the last two people said. A doctor should ask you a variety of questions as well as do tests to check for any physical problems. There are several medical problems that can mimic depression, such as a thyroid problem, hormone imbalance, anemia, or vitamin deficiency among other things. If all the tests come back negative and your symptoms meet the requirements, you'll be formally diagnosed with depression.

I've suffered with depression for a couple years and I know it's not fun. I agree with Johann and Karybu, you should definitely talk to a doctor, or a school counselor at the least. They can help you feel better or get what you need to feel better, you don't have to live with this.

And btw, don't let people make you feel bad for feeling bad. Depression is not your fault and it is not something that you can just wish away or think away. It's a real, legitimate problem and just like you can't exercise away a heart attack, you can't think away depression. Depression affects everything and clouds your thoughts, but it's not a lack of effort or some sort of laziness.

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Alaskagirl16
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Thanks you guys. I'm just, scared to even bring it up because what if I'm wrong? It terrifies me having to ask if something is wrong with me. How would I even bring it up with my school conselor...
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AponiKanti
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well, if you're wrong, then you can be relieved. Either way, something hopeful or good should come out of it. There is a reason you're feeling the way you are, be it physical or mental/emotional. Therefore, as long as the adults do everything they can to find out why you're feeling badly and don't blow you off or dismiss you, then you'll be fine. You could tell your counselor that you haven't been feeling well lately. When s/he asks what you mean, you can explain how your emotions are going. Does that help?
Posts: 95 | From: Pennsylvania, USA | Registered: Aug 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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