Let’s get philosophical for a moment, shall we? Is it possible for happiness to exist without sadness?
We feel happiness and sadness as experiential emotions, occurring in the short term with identifiable triggers. The comparative nature of the two emotions supports the belief that happiness cannot truly be appreciated without experiencing its lovely counterpart – sadness. Take a moment to picture a life in the absence of sadness. Bland, boring, flat.
Depression refers to a person’s overall mood, presenting as a consistent state of mind lasting anywhere from days to weeks. So, how do I know if I’m depressed? As you might expect, a primary indicator of depression is the presence of prolonged feelings of sadness. The tricky thing is that you may find it difficult to identify external factors contributing to a shift in your mood.
How do I know if I’m depressed?
As a matter of fact, it can be helpful to reflect, assess and draw comparisons between your current and previous functioning as a social and professional person. These questions will help you assess feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and the physical symptoms of depression. If you’re considering therapy, it’s recommended that you write down these questions and your answers prior to your first therapy session. I certainly recommend it to my potential clients.
With that said, here are the questions, arranged in three categories:
- Am I experiencing any negative emotions such as sadness, hopelessness, or irritability?
- How intense are the feelings I am experiencing?
- Do I feel this way consistently?
- How long have I felt this way?
- Do I feel physically fatigued?
- Have I noticed an increase or decrease in my need for sleep?
- Have I noticed any observable changes in my appetite?
- Do I still find my preferred activities and hobbies engaging?
- Have I noticed a change in my motivation and productivity at work?
- Am I isolating myself? Canceling plans with my closest friends?
In general, my clinical experience has shown that a person’s progress in therapy is directly linked to how they understand emotions (sadness) and mood (symptoms of depression). We can appreciate sadness for its served purpose. We needn’t fear or avoid sadness. In therapy, we work with and through your emotional experiences in support of achieving your goals for therapy. So contact us today for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.
My goal as a therapist is to provide you with a safe space where we can have an open conversation without fear of judgement, where we can delve into difficult issues, and help you to develop new coping skills.