Is It Just The Blues Or Is It Depression?

It’s no secret that life is full of ups and downs, and when the downs hit, it can leave you feeling pretty low. Experiencing sadness and grief are normal and to be expected. But when a case of the blues hangs around for a while, it could be depression. So how can you tell the difference between the two?

Study Your Symptoms

The best way to determine whether you have a case of the blues or depression is by evaluating your symptoms. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Have your feelings of sadness lasted for more than two weeks?
If you answered yes, it could be a sign of depression. The blues normally don’t linger for too long.

2. Is your mood seriously affecting other areas of your life such as your job performance or personal relationships?
The blues generally don’t interfere with your functioning at work or prevent you from focusing on your relationships. If you find difficulty concentrating at work day after day and isolating yourself from loved ones, it is likely a case of depression.

3. Do you still find opportunities for happiness and enjoyment despite feeling low?
Although you may be going through a tough time or feeling down, if you can still find moments of happiness and pleasure, you are probably dealing with the blues. However, if you find that you lose interest in hobbies or other enjoyable activities, you may be heading towards depression.

4. Are you feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty?
If you feel like nothing seems to improve and life is an endless series of gray days, that’s a sign of depression. A hopeless, “why bother?” kind of attitude is a key indicator. By the same token if you feel like you don’t matter or feel guilty about your moods, that’s is a clue to seek help.

5. Is there a change in eating or sleeping habits?
Whether it’s the blues or depression, you will probably notice a change in your eating and sleeping habits. Some people experience a loss of appetite while others drown their sorrows in food. As for sleep some hardly catch a wink while others can’t get out of bed. Whichever it is, if this becomes habitual and lasts more than two weeks, it’s a sign of depression.

Know When to Seek Help

After studying your symptoms it’s important to know when to seek help. If signs point to depression, getting help as soon as possible is key. Why suffer any longer than necessary? And even if it’s just a case of the blues, there is no reason to avoid seeking help just the same.

Enlisting the help of a friend, family member or other sympathetic ear is a great way to ease the blues, but when it comes to depression, there is no substitute for a professional counselor or therapist. In some cases medication can make all the difference in the world.

So whether it’s the blue or depression, be aware of the signs. It can make the road to recovery much easier.

Photo: Pexels

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