5 Things You MUST Know If You Are Feeling Depressed For The First Time

You are feeling depressed for the first time. Are you feeling confused and overwhelmed and not sure what to do about it? It’s a scary feeling, one you have never experienced before.

Let me help you. I have struggled with depression for most of my life and there are some things that are essential to know if you are feeling depressed for the first time.

#1 – What kind of depression is it?

In my experience, there are two basic kinds of depression: situational depression and chemical depression.

Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad, like the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job, you can become situationally depressed. This kind of depression usually has a beginning, caused by a specific event, and an end, and is often treated differently from chemical depression.

Chemical depression is the result your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression but it can also by caused by a traumatic life event.

Chemical depression can happen to you even if your life is going great.

Chemical depression can be treated but it might be treated differently from situational depression.

I have suffered from chemical depression my whole life and experienced situational depression while I cared for my mother as she was dying of pancreatic cancer. Both kinds of depression were tough to deal with but I figured out how.

#2 – There are different types of treatment for different kinds of depression.

For situational depression, depression that usually has a beginning and an end, the most effective treatment I found was talk therapy and the use of an anti-depressant.

Talk therapy is very effective for situational depression because there is usually something specific that needs to be processed. For me, I had to process the effects of being the caregiver of a dying parent and then how to cope when she died.

Medication was very effective for me as well. I described my anti-depressant as something that ‘raised the bottom of the pool for me to keep me from drowning.’

The talk therapy was important for me but it wasn’t enough. The anti-depressant enabled me to get to the therapy, engage with the therapist and move on. Some time after the death of my mother I was able to stop the anti-depressant medication, although I did continue the therapy for a while.

With chemical depression talk therapy can also be quite effective but medication is often an essential part of treatment.

I have suffered from depression my whole life; the result, I believe, of genetics – both my grandfather and my great grandfather were severely depressive. The fact that my brain chemistry is off is an inherited trait, much like the thyroid cancer my grandmother passed down to me.

For me, the most effective way to manage my brain chemistry is with medication. I have been on a mood stabilizer for 10 years now and it has balanced out my brain chemistry to the point where the depression no longer controls my life.

Because chemical depression often doesn’t have an “end,” other types of treatment can be very effective. I have found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy worked quite well for me. CBT teaches you how to talk back to your brain when it tries to bring you down. It teaches you how to identify thought patterns that don’t serve you which can help you manage your depression.

There are many other types of therapy and learned coping skills that work with chemical depression as well. Talk to you therapist about what might work best for you.

#3 – Depression is nothing to be embarrassed about.

In the United States mental illness is the #1 most discriminated against state of being, over race and sexual orientation. Many people believe that depression is something that can be avoided and if you are ‘strong enough’ you can power through it.

Many people also believe that taking medication is a mark of weakness. People don’t question my taking medication for a thyroid disorder but I get questioned every day about why I take psychotropic meds.

All that being said, virtually everyone in the US is touched in some way by depression. They might struggle with it or perhaps a parent or a child does. Whatever the case, there are many, many people out there living with mental illness and hiding yours won’t serve you.

In fact, one of the best ways that I manage my depression is by talking about it, with my family and friends, but also with other people who are struggling like me.

#4 – Your depression will get worse without treatment.

Both types of depression, both situational and chemical, will get worse without treatment.

I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until I was 42 years old when it got so bad that I had a breakdown. Earlier treatment might have prevented me from getting to that place.

It is essential that if you are struggling with depression that you reach out to your primary care provider right away. You can discuss with them the causes and symptoms of your depression and make a plan on how to move forward with treatment.

#5 – Take care of yourself.

If you are depressed for the first time it is very important that you take care of yourself.

Many people who are depressed self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, food and sex, among other things. While these things will make you feel better in the short term, in the long run you will find that these things only make your depression worse.

So make sure you are doing things that are good for you. Exercise regularly, sleep well and eat foods that are healthy. Spend time with people who are good to you and do activities that make your heart sing.

While these things won’t cure your depression, they will make living with it way more tolerable and allow you to live a quality life.

If you are feeling depressed for the first time it is essential that you recognize your depression for what it is and reach out for help right away.

Depression is a scary thing and while it is tempting to ignore it in the hopes that it will go away, really it won’t. I tried to ignore mine and instead found myself one day in a closet, banging my head against the wall.

So reach out to your primary care giver today. Get your treatment started. And make sure that you take care of yourself along the way.

You will be glad you did! I was.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

What It Means When You’re Feeling Depressed But Nothing Is Wrong (And What to Do About It)

Have you recently been feeling depressed but nothing is wrong? Do you feel like you have everything that you want in your life but still you feel like you are carrying a hundred pound weight on your back, that you have no interest in anything and that all you want to do is sleep?

I am not a doctor but I can tell you that I used to feel that way all the time. I lived with this overwhelming sense of hopelessness and dread. I tried to be a good parent but keeping my energy up was close to impossible. I tried to be great wife but my irritability prevented that from happening. I had a great job but my performance suffered.

This went on for years. YEARS. I thought that I was managing it, and I was. Until I wasn’t.

One day, when I was 42 years old, I found myself in a closet banging my head against the wall. I had no idea what was going on.

A friend of mine scooped me up off the floor and took me to see a psychiatrist. He diagnosed me with clinical depression. He sent me off with some medication and instructions to follow up with a therapist.

That day changed my life.

If you are feeling depressed but nothing is wrong in your life then you too could be clinically depressed. This means that you have a chemical imbalance that causes depressive symptoms without something actually being wrong.

So what do you do if you are feeling depressed but nothing is wrong? I have some suggestions.

#1 – Ask yourself a few questions.

A good way to get a sense of whether or not you are clinically depressed is to ask yourself some questions. They are:

  • Are you living with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Are you more irritable than usual?
  • Have you lost interest in things that used to make you happy?
  • Are you not sleeping as well as you used to?
  • Have your sleep patterns changed? Are you spending more time in bed?
  • Have your eating patterns changed? Have you lost or gained weight?
  • Are you more anxious than you used to be?
  • Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness?
  • Do you have a hard time focusing?
  • Do you think about committing suicide?
  • Do you have new physical problems, like headaches or backaches.

If you answered yes to any, or all, of these questions you might be struggling with clinical depression.

#2 – See your primary care doctor immediately.

If you are feeling depressed and nothing is wrong It is important that you reach out to your primary care doctor as soon as possible to tell her about your symptoms. Seeking medical help is key to dealing with depression.

Many primary care physicians are knowledgeable about the treatment of depression and can help you with treatment right away. Some primary care doctors might refer you to a psychiatrist who can help you diagnose and manage your depression.

Either way, see you doctor right away.

#3 – Stick to whatever regimen the doctor prescribes.

This is a key part of dealing with clinical depression.

What often happens is that a doctor prescribes a medication to help someone manage their depression and then once they are feeling better they stop taking it. And what happens next? The depression comes back.

So stick to your treatment. Continue to take your meds. Just like you would if your doctor had prescribed meds to help you with a thyroid issue. Or diabetes.

#4 – Surround yourself with people who love you.

Many people who suffer from clinical depression tend to isolate themselves from friends and family. Making the effort to spend time with people and to pretend to enjoy themselves is just too much. So they don’t.

Make an effort to get yourself out there and spend time with people who love you. Spending time with people who make you laugh, who keep you out of your head and make you feel good about yourself is very important to managing your clinical depression.

#5 – Don’t be embarrassed.

Many people who are diagnosed with clinical depression are embarrassed. Embarrassed that they can’t just “suck it up.” That they might have some kind of personal deficiency that makes them weak in the face of this perceived disease.

Let me tell you! You are not weak. You are not lacking something that others have that make it so that you can ‘suck it up.’ You are actually incredibly brave for facing this issue head on.

Clinical depression is a disease caused by a chemical imbalance. The same as heart disease, the same as thyroid disease.

Clinical depression is perceived by many in society to be a personal weakness. I mean how can you be depressed if nothing is wrong? Luckily more and more people are speaking up about living with mental illness. More and more people, including many famous people, are being honest about living well with their condition and helping to eliminate the stigma about mental illness.

So, join the celebrities. Don’t be embarrassed. Clinical depression is not something that you could have prevented. But it is something that you can deal with.

If you are feeling depressed but nothing is wrong then you may be struggling with clinical depression.

The best way to deal with it is to get yourself to see your doctor right away and then stick with the medical treatment they prescribe. Also make sure to take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who love you.

You, like millions of other women, can have a full and happy life living with clinical depression. All you need to do is to pick up the phone and call your doctor.

Do it TODAY!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!