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Could I Be Suffering From Depression? Should I Seek Help?


jpollard

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I've already taken several 'depression tests', including the 'Zung Self-Rated Depression Scale' self-test offered here. What I really want is a response from someone who can relate on a personal level. I think I've been experiencing depression, but when I search for help online all I can find are 'symptoms', which turn out to be groups of criteria that I can relate to vaguely enough to think 'maybe', but not enough to actually seek help. I'm hoping some of you here can help me out.

Though I've experienced some of the aforementioned 'symptoms' for 3-5 years (maybe just because I was a teenager), my experiences with what I see as depression began a year ago. Around this time, my best friend died (we were both 18 at the time). This was obviously a traumatic event, and though I expected to be grieving for some time, I think it's now gone a little beyond that. Needless to say I spent a long time being absolutely inconsolable, but after six months I though the grieving would lessen. But even after that time, I found myself lapsing into regular periods of 1-2 weeks feeling like there was no hope, like I couldn't face coming out of my room and like there was no point carrying on.

This would happen every 4-6 weeks, for a week or two at a time. At this point, my sadness seemed to be less 'aimed' at my bereavement — it seemed to have spread into more and more of my life. I could still manage at this point, though when an episode came on I'd usually shut myself in my room and cut myself off from my other friends.

This carried on regularly, but in the last month or so it's been a continuous bout. It seems even less aimed at the bereavement, and not even towards minor problems and stresses I might have. I've started rating my days on a three-part scale, between Blue, Gray, and Black:

  • Blue is feeling sort of 'under the weather', but nothing too serious
  • Gray is a feeling of general hopelessness, as well as this sort of feeling where I have no personality or people that I regularly hang around with perhaps don't like me as much as I like to think. There's usually a sort of 'hollowness' to the way I think about myself, if you get me.
  • Black is where I have regular thoughts about death — I know I'd never **** myself, but the thought occurs — as well as stronger feelings like those covered by Gray.

I get that this sounds a lot like depression on every 'scale' or 'test' I've tried, but I feel like at 19 this could be a serious decision to make if I go to see a doctor and end up on antidepressants. I'd rather get some verification from other people who are maybe going through what I am before I seek professional help.

Thanks so much to anyone who replies,

JP

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That sounds like depression to me, but what you should really do is see a therapist. Since you have had a considerably traumatic incident in your life, they probably will not assume you have a clinical problem right off the bat, especially if you never had symptoms this severe prior to this loss you suffered. However, life events can trigger major depressive episodes, so it could be you have a clinical problem that has been exacerbated by this loss.

If it were me, I would try therapy first and talk to a doctor about at least having some blood work done to rule out a physical problem like thyroid dysfunction that can cause similar symptoms. Then if you still can't move on and are struggling after a while maybe look into medication.

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