Depression or just Stress?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My husband just deployed about 3 months ago to Iraq and I have a 5 month old baby boy. Im not sure if the given situation is making me stress or if im really getting depressed. I find myself very irritable and fautigued. If i stop long enough to think i just cry. I know I have been thrown into alot by myself but up until recently I have been able to deal with everything with a positive attitude. I have also recently turned to compulsive cleaning to ease the pain and to pass time. While this is a good thing im afraid that im trying to mask a serious problem. My support is over 3 hours away and i think this may be taking a toll on me also. I dont know anyone where i live, so if i have had enough i have no one to turn to within a resonable driving distance. Please help me. My question is am I becoming depressed and if so should I seek medical help or can I deal with this and overcome it by myself?

A. You have a lot going on. It is hard to tell what exactly you are suffering from but it sounds like both a combination of stress and depression. You have had two recent major life occurrences that are extremely stressful, especially having a new baby and not long after, your husband is deployed. I would recommend that you seek therapy. A therapist can help you manage your stress until you feel back to yourself again.

Another suggestion is check out any support groups in your area for new moms or military wives. I know lots of communities have them. There are even some online communities you could join to talk to people dealing with the same life events. Check with your local community health center, doctor or pediatrician who might know of any support groups in your area for new moms or military wives. I don’t think you should be dealing with all of this alone. Do some searching and see what you find. Please let me know how you are doing. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Mar 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Depression or just Stress?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/03/09/depression-or-just-stress/