Are you stressed or depressed?

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Somehow I have managed to let stress take over my life. I have several issues to deal with, financial problems, health problems, family issues, etc. (Who doesn’t right)but over time I have been worrying and stressing over them constantly. So much that I can’t seem to turn my mind off. If that makes any sense.  It feels like I am surrounded by hundreds of stress monsters who are constantly shooting stress arrows into my brain. I know that sounds weird, but it’s almost like they are competing to be the # 1 stressor. This usually goes on late into the night, preventing sleep. I guess it would be called “racing thoughts.” As I lay in bed tossing and turning asking myself, how to turn my mind off?

I think I can say that officially my depression has increased instead of the other way around.  You’re probably asking yourself, what do these two things have in common? A lot of people don’t know that studies show that one of the most sensitive questions for detecting depression in someone is simply to ask him or her if they’ve been feeling very stressed out over the last couple of weeks. Most people who are feeling hugely stressed out are actually depressed. And if the stressed-out feeling has been going on for more than a few weeks, it’s usually time to think about treatment.

The feeling that my problems are competing to be the No. 1 stressor is a very classic mental marker for depression. Why? Because when we are not depressed, we see our challenges as discreet entities that can be tackled one by one. When depression sets in, our problems seem to melt into each other until we are faced with one hellish soup of difficulty.

The word “depression” gets thrown around a lot, as if everyone knows what it feels like to be depressed. When in fact, depression has a number of emotional faces. Sometimes it feels like the kind of sadness that makes you cry. More often it feels like a type of dull dread of the world. Often it mostly manifests as a feeling that one is really unworthy to be taking up space on the planet. And very frequently it presents itself as a feeling of overwhelming stress, a feeling that one’s problems are beyond dealing with. The fact that this last feeling is so common in depression explains why being “stressed out” is such a good marker for major depression

Ask yourself whether you’ve been feeling down or blue, whether you’ve lost interest in things you usually enjoy, whether you feel guilty or especially down on yourself, whether your sleep and appetite are disturbed, whether you feel exhausted most of the time, whether you are having trouble concentrating.

If most of these symptoms sound familiar, it is likely that you are depressed. The only advice I can give is… Seek help.  And please don’t procrastinate.

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