Classic Depression v. The Other Depression

I would like to take some time to talk about Depression. Not the depression that you are thinking of, but the other one.  Yes, that’s exactly my point- there seem to be several misnomers out there that I would like to attempt to dispel about what depression looks like.

First, there is what most would call “Classic Depression…”
– uncontrollable crying or repeated outbursts of tears
– laying in bed all day, refusing to get up
– not wanting to eat or drink
– not wanting to see people
– sometimes (very frighteningly, and rightly so) when people are having thoughts of suicide.

While Classic Depression is scary, it will usually illicit the attention of people, thus, people with this type of depression get help the fastest.

Then there is the depression that is subtle and very, very stealth…this is what I have cleverly termed, “The Other Depression.”  I often find this the more alarming of the depressions because it has typically been going on for years (yes, YEARS) before it’s finally noticed and can be the most challenging to overcome because of the high denial factor.

This depression develops over a long period of time and when there is exposure to high levels of stress and anxiety. Some of the symptoms are:
-difficulty focusing
-trouble remembering conversations or things in general
-struggling to complete tasks, no matter how simple or mundane
-low energy
-feeling tearful at times
-sudden outbursts of anger or intense irritation over small things

People with this type of depression are still moving through life, completing life skills but they are treading water…they are just getting by. Typically, I describe it as “you are paying your bills, showering, and getting dressed but colors seem a little less bright…happy moments are less joyful.”

In my experience the reason there is such a high denial factor is because it’s been going on for so long, people don’t even notice anymore. The sound of wind in trees is no longer as calming as it once was, blue skies aren’t as soothing as they were two springs ago. When I ask clients about the last time they felt truly happy, they shrug and respond, “I don’t know…it’s been like this forever.” This is usually when I get out my DSM and we talk about the varying degrees or types of depression.

Both types of depression are difficult to dig yourself out of and both are debilitating in different ways. If you, or if you know of someone, who identifies with any of the “Classic” symptoms, contact a mental health professional today. If you think you might be living with “The Other Depression” call a professional and talk to them about your concerns and worries.

In either case, you will start seeing the colors more vividly, breathe deeper, and feel the joy of life a bit more deeply. Now, wouldn’t that be nice?