Feeling a little sad from one time to another is normal. Not everyone is happy all of the time. Sometimes though, you feel quite empty and hopeless over a long period of time. This is known as depression. It can last for a long time. You don’t seem to enjoy life as much as you had done in the past. The things that you really liked, such as hobbies  or friends are no longer holding the meaning that they used to.

This is a great deal more than just a case of the blues taking hold of you. It is quite likely a full blown depression and it makes it very hard to function from day to day. When you are depressed, the world looks quite bleak. Learning about depression, how to handle it and how to get over it, as well as how to recognize that you may be depressed is the first step to starting to overcome the depression that has a grip on you.

What Exactly IS Depression?

Everyone goes through ups and downs in moods. This isn’t depression. Using the word to describe the day that you just don’t feel well is common, but a single day when you are sad or upset is not depression.  Depression is much more than just a day when you’re feeling sad. It means that you’re feeling empty and low, sometimes even very angry without a reason for it. Some people may experience days or weeks of apathy.

What are the Symptoms?

Each person will have different symptoms that they may describe when they tell you about their depression. A few things are common. Some signs and symptoms that you may be depressed, or that someone you know may be suffering from depression are:

Changes in sleep habits-you sleep a lot or you don’t sleep enough. You find it very difficult to concentrate on work or school or other tasks that you were used to doing every day. You feel very negative and quite hopeless about your life in general. You have feelings of helplessness and are not able to control the negative feelings no matter how hard you try to talk yourself out of them. You are very short tempered and small things irritate you. You have thoughts about suicide even if you do not act on those thoughts.

If you have had two or more of these symptoms and they are not going away after a week or two, then you are quite likely suffering from what is known as clinical depression. There are ways that you can help yourself and ways that you can get help to feel better about your life.

How is Depression Treated?

In some cases, depression is caused by a specific hormone, or the lack of a hormone or other substance that your body requires. You can often begin therapy to control the concentrations of these substances in your body and actually change your mood simply by replacing the bodily substance that you need.

In other cases, your depression may be caused by something that has happened that you are having trouble recovering from. Getting some therapy and actually talking about the problems may help you to better be able to cope with the issues that you are  dealing with.

Combination therapy, medication and sometimes one on one counseling can help you to deal with your depression in other cases. If you are feeling suicidal at any time, seek help immediately, but even if you are not, getting help for your depression is in your best interests and that of your family.

Staying depressed just isn’t an option when there are so many wonderful things out there waiting for you. Get help for your depression and start living a more positive and fulfilling life again.

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