We use the term “sadness/depression” to cover a wide range of feelings. There is a distinction between sadness and depression, as they are not the same thing. Sadness is a very human and important emotion that can happen after an event or a difficult period of time in your life. If it lasts and starts impacting other parts of your life (i.e., work, relationships, etc.), this is when depression may be the cause.
Answering a few questions can be a great start to examining the impact of your situation:
Read on to identify if you may have an issue that could be addressed with the help of other resources or a peer mentor.
Signs are what may be observed by others. Symptoms are the things reported by a first responder. Many of the following can be signs or symptoms:
Women’s depression tends to appear more withdrawn and often looks more like an “inward” expression of sadness. This can include feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and excessive guilt. Women’s depression is more often what we think of with a “traditional” depression. Some women may seek out others, especially close family or friends, to talk to. Others may withdraw altogether.
Men’s depression tends to appear more irritable and often looks more like an “outward” expression of anger. This can include moodiness, a loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, and difficulty sleeping. Men may also be more likely than women to turn to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed. They may become frustrated, discouraged, and sometimes abusive. Some men throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their depression with family or friends, or they behave recklessly.
These goals are only examples. Use them as a guide, not an absolute. You know if there is a problem; let now be the time to fix it.
Reaching out for help is never a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength. It may be annoying or frustrating to think about what to do and how to approach it, but it can be done. There are other first responders who understand where you’ve been. If you cannot reach or maintain all of these goals on your own, get connected with a peer support mentor.