How do I know whether I am depressed or whether it is just my personality or just being lazy?
The more I think about this question the more I become confused and lose the ability to think straight.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been emotional, easily offended, always crying, often for the smallest reason. I assumed it was part of growing up and normal teenage feelings combined with high sensitivity. It has always been a running joke in my family that I show no emotion, no excitement.
Now I am 23 and the ability to control my emotions is affecting my job and overall life. I have little desire to do anything in life, if I am not working then I am doing nothing. I even lack the ability to motivate myself to cook or read a book or go to the shop. I am working in a career I have always wanted and know it is a career I wish to pursue, and yet I am struggling with motivation. Getting out of bed is hard and never have to ability to arrive at work early Ė always bang on time (after rushing around).
I have no desire to meet with friends and now rarely see them, mainly because Iím always tired and put sleep first. I cry at the slightest bit of stress, I cry when I am drunk, I cry for the smallest reason, I cry at little things on TV, I cry to sad songs, I even cry after an orgasm. I can cry for hours, almost like a deep pain coming out from inside me, but have no reason. I have lost sight of what true happiness is. I donít even know if I am happy. I have a new car and a new job and feel nothing. I doubt everything about myself, I get anxious before going to work without any real reason.
I just donít know what I am feeling anymore. I am always tired. The more tired I am, the more irritable I am, the more I cry. I can sleep for 7 hours and be tired, and sleep for over 9 hours and still be tired to the extent where I just feel spaced out and want to sleep all day long. But I feel I have always felt this way. I have always had issues falling asleep, but now I wake early and wake regularly throughout the night.
I fear relationships because how can I deal with big stresses in life when I cannot even deal with the little things? I feel if something really bad was to happen tomorrow then I literally wouldnít cope at all.
I donít know if my emotions are just part of my personality and that I am just lazy. I feel that if maybe I can sort out sleeping problems then Iíd have the energy and enthusiasm I need to get me through the day, but a friend tells me I am depressed.
I need another personís opinion.
Hi there Claire,
Thank you for taking the time to right to me and I apologize for the delay in being able to get a reply to you. Work has been manic and it has been difficult to find some time to sit down at a computer and reply, so I apologize.
From all of the things that you have described, it sounds like you could potentially be suffering from a combination of different psychological disorders but in particular, depression and anxiety (and possibly, insomnia). These are psychological conditions that can affect every aspect of your life and if not addressed can lead you into a rut that gets harder to get out of. If your moods are affecting every aspect of your life (as it sounds like they are) then this sets off alarm bells and needs to be looked at before it worsens. I would recommend speaking to your GP about how you are feeling and how long you have felt like this. The doctor will listen, ask a couple of questions and may prescribe one or several different treatments.
The treatments for anxiety and depression can include medications but also, may include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which is a psychological treatment that aims to get you to look at your life and yourself in a more positive way through reflective exercises. This CBT has been used successfully to treat people with complex psychological disorders and it is useful at arming the person with tools to adjust their thinking in the future when under pressure, so that they can begin to think more positively about their lives without consciously having to think about it. It may be worth discussing CBT with your GP as it is available on the NHS as well as privately, but privately it can be expensive and with the NHS, it can take some time for an appointment to become available. Either way, it may be an option for you to explore.
The chronic sadness and lack of, almost, motivation in your life, as well as erratic sleeping patterns runs contrary to the emotions that you should be feeling. You have a lot to be happy about, a job you wanted, a car you wanted and you are starting out on a career path that you have worked hard to get on. All of these things should allow you to lead a life where your moods are no more up or down than anyone else's. However, from what you have explained, it is almost like you feel like your life is empty and without purpose, yet you are scared to allow yourself a relationship or social interaction because you are concerned that this will only make things worse. As a consequence, you wrap yourself in a bubble and live and work without purpose which reinforces your social isolationsim and your low mood. Erratic sleep patterns, constant tiredness and the lack of planning time also mean that you are burning yourself out leaving you without energy or motivation to want to do anything.
The worst thing you can do in your situation is return to an empty place where you have a lot of alone time to dissect your life and become critical and negative towards your achievements. Having social contact, even when you don't feel like it, is important because it lifts your mood and helps you to focus your attention. This does not necessarily have to mean that you accept every invitiation out with your friends but rather, you could go swimming, to the gym or for a walk, where you are around other people. Going to the gym has also been proven to lift your mood as has gardening, but also, it physically tires you out which will help you to sleep and begin to train your body to getting into a more regular sleep pattern which again, in time, will begin to lift your mood.
Equally as important is making sure that you are eating regularly and a balanced diet. There are times when we all get in from work and cannot be bothered to cook, but if you continue to skip meals and not eat properly, your body will respond by making you tired and lethargic, as well as feeling low and irritable.
The chronic sadness that you are feeling is not a normal or healthy state to be in and I think that you may benefit from support about managing your moods and improving your mental health. There is a positive outcome however, if you speak to your doctor and begin to get some support, you will get better. You do not have to live your life feeling the way that you are and you have taken the first step by contacting me, which shows to me that you recognise that there may be a problem. The next step is getting professional help and getting your life back on track. There is no shame in asking for help and you are certainly not the only person who feels the way that you do.
Think about what we have discussed and the options available to you and if you decide to get some support then I am confident that you will see a marked improvement in your mood and then subsequently, your life.
I hope that helps.