Just the Blues or Symptoms of Depression? How to Tell The Difference

symptoms of depression

Recognizing symptoms of depression is the first step to feeling better.

It’s normal and natural to be sad at certain times in our life. In response to unhappy events, like the passing of a loved one, we may be blue for long periods of time. We might never fully get over it. It’s part of being a human being in this world. Again, that’s just normal. As time goes by and the demands of living force us forward, we bounce back. That’s normal, too.


It’s a bounce back because the original fall into the blues was due to a specific event. We recover from it in time. We find our way back to our natural, if modified, routines of normal life.


Depression, on the other hand, is more than just an extended stay in Blues Ville. It’s not merely a sadness brought on by an unhappy event. If you are depressed, misery is normal. It’s a debilitating, unhappy reality, one that can be really hard to escape without a little help.

A man’s guide to depression

Although women appear to be more prone to depression, it affects the lives of many men. Sometimes depression sneaks up on you and it’s hard to tell if you’re in a bout with depression or if you just have a bad case of the blues.


In the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy, the guy who tells us, “ . . . you might be a redneck,” here are a few ways to tell if you might be depressed:


  • If feelings of hopelessness or helplessness keep you up at night, you might be depressed
  • If you find no pleasure in life, you might be depressed.
  • If you wake up most mornings thinking of killing yourself, chances are pretty good that you’re depressed.
  • If you feel like there’s no place for you in this world, you just might be depressed.
  • If you’d rather sit on the couch all day until you go back to bed, you might be depressed.
  • If you’ve withdrawn from your friends and family, you could be depressed.
  • If your spouse has given up on trying to cheer you up, you might be depressed.
  • If it turns out that you’re depressed, do yourself a big favor: face it and get help.

Everyone needs some help now and then.


A more scientific approach to understanding symptoms of depression

If you have four of the following symptoms often, daily, for at least two weeks — and these symptoms interfere with normal activities of your daily life — you might have depression. It’s worth seeing a therapist to determine what the next steps to feeling better will be.


  • You used to enjoy certain activities, but you no longer find them enjoyable
  • Sad, empty feelings, depressed moods, especially if it brings concern from others
  • Weight loss or gain of 5% of your body weight in a month’s time
  • Unexplained irritability, restlessness, tension or anger
  • Disrupted sleep patterns—too much or too little sleep
  • Loss of energy, dragging through the day, easily fatigued
  • Persistent sense of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Recurring thoughts of death, suicide, “disappearing,” “escaping it all”, or just “not waking up again”


Other symptoms of depression

These are additional symptoms of depression many people experience. They don’t necessarily indicate that you have depression, but can be a warning sign to get an evaluation by a therapist. Some of these symptoms may be confused with medical illness and some medical illnesses actually lead to depression if left untreated. If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, it’s important to also visit your doctor to rule out any concurrent medical problems (such as thyroid disease, hormone imbalance, or vitamin deficiency). Some symptoms on this list are:


  • Feelings of guilt, loneliness, apathy
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Energy loss; physical slowing or agitation
  • Physical aches and pains that don’t have a particular cause
  • Headaches or backaches
  • Digestive problems


Depression signals that certain mental and emotional aspects of a person’s life are out of balance. Unexpressed feelings and concerns can worsen depression. The causes of depression are not always clear so it’s important to seek depression counseling from a licensed and trained mental health counselor/therapist.


There’s no shame in depression

Some people battling depression choose to go it alone because of a perceived stigma associated with getting help. If you have some of depression’s classic symptoms and they are persistent, you need to get yourself to someone who can help. There’s nothing to lose but your depression!


Many people struggle with depression that could be successfully treated, yet it goes undiagnosed and untreated because their symptoms are ignored or because their symptoms of depression come on gradually and decline with time until the person feels trapped or stuck. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of; it’s an illness in need of treatment just as any other illness. It’s important to identify the signs sooner than later as it can become difficult to take action or even make a phone call when depression is more severe.


If you or someone you love is struggling with depression, contact us to find out more about depression treatment in Houston, Tx. Appointments can be scheduled online or send us a message and we’ll call you to find out more about your symptoms and how we can help

To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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