Psych2Go would like to preface this article by saying that self diagnosis can be harmful if not dangerous. We are not trying to help anyone diagnose themselves with this list. Rather, we are giving advice on what to do if you already believe you have depression. This article is also meant to give a list of references and resources at your disposal. The point is to understand why you might be thinking you have depression, not whether you have it to begin with. That being said, here is a list of things you should do if you think you have depression.
1. Talk to your doctor
The following tips will help you with this specific step but let’s start here first. You really should speak with your doctor if you notice any symptoms of depression. These include, but are not limited to:
- Little interest in doing things
- Feeling hopeless
- Major changes to your sleeping ability/schedule
- Changes in appetite, or
- Thoughts that you are better off dead
If you notice yourself having any of these thoughts or feelings, you should schedule a visit with your physician. Letting these symptoms go can make things much harder for you in the future.
2. Understand why you think you have depression
Are you randomly feeling sad or down? Did something specific happen that has you upset? If the answer to those questions is yes, then you probably don’t have depression. These are examples of things that can make anyone’s mood shift for a short time. If you bounce back within a few hours or even days, then you are more than likely in the clear. Where you need to start taking note is if you’ve felt sad or down for an elongated period of time. If you have noticed feeling withdrawn from life and uninterested in the things you once loved that is the deciding factor.
3. Take notes about your mood from day to day
Keeping a short log of your mood can really help your doctor make a diagnosis. If you’ve noticed differences in your behavior or sleep for some time, try to think back to when it started. There may be a large event that triggered the changes for you. Or, like with many cases of depression, if could just be a random issue with the hormonal balance in your brain. To that effect, make sure to write down any changes in medications you might be taking or changes in your diet. There are times when these external changes can cause an internal change within us.
4. Try to get involved again
There may be a lull in your activity that might be having a depressive effect on you. Are you naturally outdoor oriented but it’s now to cold to go on hikes? Do you live in a climate that is darker and rainy for a good portion of the fall and winter? These can be triggers of what is known as seasonal affective disorder, which is a form of depression. If you are noticing that you aren’t able to do the things you love because of the weather, taking up a hobby might be a good idea. Are an avid runner but it’s just too cold out? A gym membership might give you what you are looking for. If you find yourself having issues accomplishing these things or notice that they aren’t helping you then it might be time to talk to your doctor.
This list is meant to be a guide to helping you understand your symptoms. There are other things you can do if you feel that you might have depression but it all goes back to that first tip. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough that speaking with your doctor is the most important thing you can do. Early intervention is key to helping you with depression. If left untreated, a major depressive disorder can lead to several less than optimum outcomes. If you think you may be depressed, please call your doctor or call the Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273- TALK (8225). They have options for either talk, text, or TTY in case you need to be discreet or have a hearing impairment.
Have you walked a journey with depression? Psych2Go would like to hear from you. Please tell your story, if you feel safe enough, in the comments below.
Marshall, Gary. “12 Things to Do If You Think You’re Depressed.” Metro, Associated Newspapers Limited , 12 Apr. 2016, metro.co.uk/2016/04/12/12-things-to-do-if-you-think-youre-depressed-5810786/. Retrieved November 9, 2017
Smith , Melinda. “Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs.” Help Guide, Helpguide.org, Oct. 2017, www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm. Retrieved November 9, 2017
Give this video of ours a watch. Are you depressed?