Depression affects more than 16 million American adults every year and is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Symptoms include sadness, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, disturbed sleep, physical aches, slow movements, poor concentration, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide or death. Depression is inherently unpleasant and pretty much everyone with depression would prefer to feel better. However, depression can also distort your thinking and make you believe things that make you less likely to seek help. Here are some beliefs common in people with depression that might make you reluctant to seek help.
Others have it worse.
Depression occurs on a continuum, from relatively mild symptoms that might feel sort of like going through your day with a slight cold, to really severe depression, which is totally debilitating. Totally debilitating depression, which may cause psychotic symptoms or keep you from eating or even getting out of bed is relatively rare. Most depression is mild or moderate, but mild or moderate depression can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Some people feel like they don’t really have a problem because others have it worse. This kind of comparison is not really helpful. If you have symptoms of depression, then seeking help is a valid choice. You don’t have to have the worst depression to be entitled to treatment.
I don’t have all the symptoms of depression.
We typically think of depression involving sadness or crying for no apparent reason. While these are common symptoms of depression, not everyone with depression has these symptoms. Most people with depression don’t have all the symptoms. According to the DSM-5, the manual used for clinical diagnoses, you have to have five of eight common symptoms for two weeks. Depressed mood and loss of pleasure are the only indispensable symptoms. Many people experience irritability, anger, or restlessness as the most prominent symptom of depression. Men are especially prone to show symptoms of irritability, aggression, or reckless behavior rather than sadness. In short, if you have a few symptoms of depression, it’s worth talking to your doctor about. Your doctor or therapist can make a diagnosis and it’s better than ignoring your symptoms.
My life is objectively pretty good.
People often think you have to be depressed about something–a breakup, a loved one dying, losing a job, and so on. It’s normal to feel bad about these things, but the feeling typically passes. However, traumatic events can eventually turn into a depressive episode if those feelings haven’t subsided after a month or so. If you experience several such events and become depressed, depression can become cyclical and come back at regular intervals even when nothing bad has happened. If you have depression, it’s possible that your life is objectively pretty good but you still feel bad. You don’t have to justify your depressed feelings in order to seek help. In fact, if you can justify your depressed feelings, you might just be having a normal reaction to a bad event. Even if this is the case, it may help to talk to a therapist to get past it and reduce your risk of entering a depressive episode.
I just need a break.
It’s common to experience depression as feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and stretched thin. Sometimes these feelings really do indicate you just need a vacation. A little time to relax, destress, and get a fresh perspective can do wonders. So take a break if you feel like you need it. However, if you still feel the same way after your break, consider the possibility that you’re not just feeling stress-induced fatigue and irritability, but rather depression.
I can deal with it myself.
It’s common for people with depression to feel like they can deal with it alone. There are a number of reasons for this. First, it can be hard for some people to ask for help, especially when it’s something personal. There is still some stigma attached to depression, although things have improved considerably in recent years. This can make some people reluctant to admit having a problem. Second, depression feels very much like something you should be able to take care of yourself. Everyone has bad days and most people feel like part of being an adult is picking yourself up and dusting yourself off when things don’t go your way. This is especially true in a time when so much information about health and mental health is available online. However, part of the problem with depression is that it distorts your thinking. Negativity seems objective and you tend to see everything through a pessimistic filter. It’s often true that distorted thinking caused your depression, or at least made it worse, so it’s unreasonable to expect that you can think your way out of depression. It usually requires professional help, and sometimes medication.
It doesn’t matter anyway.
One common feature of depression is the feeling of hopelessness. It feels like nothing you do matters. Learned helplessness is commonly associated with depression and may sometimes be the cause of depression. This is the belief, usually learned in childhood, that nothing you do will make any difference, so there’s not point wasting energy. However, we now have several effective ways of treating depression and we learn more every year. What’s more, people who feel like treatment won’t help anyway often don’t base that belief on any evidence. It’s just a feeling they have and that feeling prevents them from actually looking into it. Very few cases of depression are completely resistant to treatment. Even if treatment doesn’t eliminate your symptoms entirely, it will usually make them less severe.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or depression, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.