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Accepting depression can be difficult.  Depression is a disorder and needs to be acknowledged as such. It is not a reason to be ashamed. One reason so many people fail to seek help for their depression is that they are ashamed. Unfortunately, this is one of the feelings associated with depression anyway and makes the problem even more difficult to acknowledge.

If you are constantly feeling particularly low, well-meaning friends might tell you to “snap out of it” or even start to get irritated by your mood. Your depression will feed off this negativity and you start to wonder why you can’t just “snap out of it”. You then start to feel that there’s something wrong with you because it should be so easy and it’s just “not right” that you feel so bad all the time. Well, it’s not right and there may be something wrong.  Major depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, change in weight, difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, energy loss, irritability, feelings of worthlessness, and even thoughts of death or suicide.  If you have five or more these symptoms you clearly meet the criteria for Major Depression and if you have less than five you may meet the criteria for a different depressive disorder.

Although accepting depression can be difficult, depression can be successfully treated and you deserve treatment in the same way as any other patient. If you were running a fever for six months would you ignore it and hope it would pass? No, you would seek professional help to find out if there’s an underlying reason for it to last so long.

Depression is sadness that lasts too long. Everyone is sad at some point in their lives but depression is more than that. It is a feeling that you can’t bring yourself up from the bottom. In the end you may even feel like giving up.  If you can be accepting depression, you can to find help to treat the problem in the same way as you would if you had a long-lasting fever. Like a fever, depression is a symptom that results from other unsolved problems.

The standard first line of treatment for depression is psychotherapy and anti-depressant medication.  Don’t be embarrassed to go for counseling but do make sure you are comfortable with your counselor  If not, try another one. Counseling should not be discounted because you don’t feel comfortable with your first choice of practitioner. In everyday life you will naturally find that you get along better with some people and clash with others. You cannot afford to have a personality clash with your counselor  On the other hand you must be sure that it is a personality clash and not just that you don’t agree with what they are saying. A general rule of thumb is to trust your instincts. If you like the person and seemed to get along well in the first couple of sessions then stick with it because they might be able to help you find the root causes of your problems.

In some cases, acknowledging depression may be difficult because you have lived with it so long that you don’t know whether it is depression or not. If you have grown up with depression it is possible not to realize that you are actually depressed because you have no concept of how normal people should feel. You may feel angry all the time or you may feel like going to the middle of an empty field and simply screaming. You may feel anxious, have trouble sleeping or even sleep too much. You may think that your family would be better off without you (and actually believe that to be true) and may have considered running away or suicide. You may think about death (yours or someone else’s) and not feel happy. If you are feeling any or all of the above then you need a professional assessment to determine the right level of care. People with thoughts of suicide typically require more help than antidepressant medication and individual therapy.  You might want to ask a friend or family member to help and encourage you to seek professional help.

Once you have acknowledged and become accepting depression, please remember that it is a treatable condition and left untreated can be fatal. You don’t have to feel this way forever. Nobody actually thinks of you the way you think they do.

Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of depression.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.