Major vs Situational Depression

So on tonight’s #TopicsToDiscuss we were focusing on mental illness and the misunderstandings of deression. One of the questions that came up was: how do you know if you have major depression or just situational or if you’re just regular sad…

I can’t answer this question, only a professional can really give you a clear diagnosis and even then, they are only going by what they know so far. Depression and all things mental health is still relatively new to the field of medicine and unfortunately the professionals do not know everything yet. They know a lot more than they did 10 years ago! And thanks to all of the amazing people (like those following @dontloseurgrip on twitter) willing to share their stories and their fears and their hopes with the rest of the world, we can bust the stigmas and ultimately make sure that the professionals have as much information as possible. The more information they have, the easier it is for them to understand and of course help us understand what our bodies and minds are going through.

So from my perspective: situational is ‘better’ mainly because you know for certain that it will get better if you change your situation. Unlike major or manic depression that is more genetic and chemical; it won’t just go away because you changed your living arangement or your work. So with the major depression label you now have a sense of slight hopelessness BUT this really is not the case! The postive side of these 2 parts of depression being so close to each other is that the recovery process is also extremely similar. The difference is only that with major depression you have to keep fighting for your recovery… The best step is to make sure you only take one at a time: don’t try to solve all of your ‘problems’ at once. Take one little moment or feeling or fear or issue and find a way to get through that one moment, then and only then should you try to work through the next.

It may sound pesimistic or a bit strange but if you devide all of the negatives and weigh it up against one positive at a time, you can over come those dark moments of loneliness. Major depression is easier to cope with in the big picture purely because doctors find it easier to diagnose and therefore family members and friends are more inclined to actually be supportive. They find it easier to understand which generally means so can you. With situational depression you tend to be judged because ‘you put yourself in that situatuion’ which is rarely true. After all, who would willingly make their lives miserable? With Major depression you are also judged but mainly by yourself… You tend to have intense feelings of guilt and keep saying to yourself: why am I so weak? why can’t I just get over this? what did I do wrong to deserve this? And let me just remind you that depression really doesn’t care who it’s victims are; not what car you’re driving or what colour your hair is or even how old you are, depression just wants company…

These 2 versions of depression are so similar that most people don’t even realize there is a difference. Ultimately, coping mechanisms for depression are not just for those severely depressed or suicidal, it’s actually things we should all be doing to make our lives better and healthier anyway. Not judging ourselves and changing those annoying voices in our heads to make them like us instead. Eating fish and going for walks or staring into an open fire with some close friends. Finding one thing in the day that we look forward to to get us through all of those difficult moments, sort of like the desert you got as a kid after finishing all of your vegetables. We can all be more healthy mind wise and obviously that will help us be more understanding to those who are not quite ready to open up about their mental helath or those who have finally built up the courage to share their ‘deep dark secret’ with their families, that stranger who just started working in your office and already has to carry this label.

Depression sucks and it doesn’t matter which version you have, all that matters is that you get help, professional help! Talk to your doctor; talk to your teacher; talk to your housemate; talk to your mother; talk to anyone who will listen! If they do not listen, kepp talking and find someone who will listen! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to feel loved and know that you are not alone so don’t allow a few ignorant people along the way to take that from you!

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