I don’t necessarily agree with this ‘dullest month of the year’ business, yes it is a little greyer outside in the winter months, but it’s also a little fresher, invigorating and picturesque on those bright and frosty mornings. So I am a firm believer that something is what you make of it, a situation will be what you will it to be, yes there are times when things really get on top of you and this positive way of thinking isn’t always as easy as many make it out to be. So here are the findings of a recent study that looked into what it is you are ACTUALLY feeling when times get tough, he helps in getting to grips with distinguishing something called grief, sadness and depression.
Distinguishing grief, sadness and depression
Historically, one of the most difficult things for medical professionals to distinguish is whether a patient coming to them with low mood, sad feelings and with the classic ‘down in the dumps’ feeling. Psychiatrists admit that differentiating between these can be tough, people can be genuinely depressed, suffering general grief and despondency, or even both! In order to begin to interpret what someone is feeling, it’s pertinent to go through a few definitions…
Depression is a term that is used rather loosely by many, someone might leave their house in the morning on the way to work and say ‘this weather is depressing’, or they might spout ‘constantly doing sit ups is depressing’… but is it, really, or is it just your interpretation of this situation, maybe it’s the ‘go to’ term to release yourself of some angst. Truth is, the weather could leave you feeling pretty darn low in mood, and may in some people lead them to exhibit depressive symptoms. However, strict depression encompasses a group of important clinical conditions known as Major Depressive Episodes (MDE) such as those in bipolar mood disorders, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) or unipolar depression, and something known as persistent depressive disorder. Depression is a long term condition that can stay with someone for weeks, months or years, but there are ways to deal with it with the help of a psychiatrist and medication (in the short or long term).
There are what many people consider ‘non- clinical’ forms of depression known as ‘sadness’ or ‘blues’ and none of the abovementioned clinical conditions should be diagnosed in the absence of:
- At least 5 of the main characteristics or symptoms
- Duration i.e. most of the day, nearly every day and for at least 2 weeks
- Presence of pathology i.e. clinical distress or impairment
Quite often, medical professionals and the general public alike will mistake the ‘blues’ or general ‘sadness’ as depression, but there is a fine line between shunning somebody experiencing sadness when it may develop into, or might already be depression.
How will you perceive yourself?
This is your choice and no one else’s, it is you that decides how you feel and although, in the merciful absence of depression, I may not be best positioned to advise on the subject. However, I can quote the words of the late Nelson Mandella, who said… ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul’. I think it’s important to remember these profound words when we’re feeling a little low from time to time, and remember that you may not be ‘depressed’ because it’s raining, or because there is a lot of traffic on the roads today… it might just be that you’re having a bad day. So I suggest removing yourself from the negative thoughts, entwine yourself in positive ones, and remember that NO ONE or NO THING is bigger than your spirit.
It may be January and it may be grey, wet and cold, but forget all that nonsense…it’s time to SMILE and be HAPPY whatever the weather!
Happy New Year!
Pies, R, W., Shear, K., Zisook, S. (2014). Distinguishing Grief, Complicated Grief, and Depression. Retrieved 8th January, 2015, from Discount Supplements