Do I Have Depression?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hello, I was hoping to get an expert’s opinion on this before I seek help. I think I may have clinical depression. I’m not going to get too much into my personal life since I’m supposed to keep this short.For years now, I’ve been feeling very down. Nothing has really excited me and in general I have a pretty negative outlook on life. I feel completely hopeless both in my current situation and while thinking about my future. I always thought it was just hormones and well teenage stuff. I’m nearing the end of my teens now and it hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s gotten much worse. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of trouble focusing. I used to be able to write school papers in one sitting without too much of a problem. This last week I was supposed to write a one page autobiography and how it relates to my chosen career. I sat down for a good hour and a half and all I had down was three sentences. I have been having short term memory issues-at the end of the day I have trouble even recalling what I did for most of it. I’ve also found that I’ve become very irritable. The littlest things will really start to tick me off. Most of the time I’m melancholy. I don’t really find any joy or excitement for anything, not even what used to be my favorite things to do. There are moments that I want to just break down and cry for no discernible reason. I do have a few moments throughout the day where I feel extremely happy and excited but they go away after maybe a minute at the most. Over the years I’ve just been able to knuckle down and muddle though the days but recently I’ve been having suicidal thoughts. They are nothing too serious as of yet, but they are a serious cause of concern. I’ve also been very fatigued. These days just walking up and down the stairs is taxing. Now, I do have breathing issues, but I really don’t think that’s all there is to it. I took the survey on this site and I scored a 58, severe depression. I have also been to several sites looking at the symptoms of depression. I have most if not all of the ones on every site I’ve been to. I’m writing this because I would like confirmation on what I have found out on my own. Also, I was wondering how I would go about seeking help. I would really like to avoid therapy if at all possible. I am very shy and reserved, I don’t think I would really be able to talk to the person much less enjoy it. If I were to go to a psychiatrist to get formally diagnosed, what would possible treatment options be? Also, I’m sorry that this is so long. I’m pretty sure it’s over 400 words. Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to a response.

A. From the information that you have provided, depression seems like a realistic possibility. You have many of the signs; most serious among them are suicidal thoughts. Happy people don’t contemplate suicide. Suicidal thoughts should always be taken seriously. Undoubtedly, you should seek professional help.

You stated that you want to avoid psychotherapy. It may not be what you want to do but psychotherapy is necessary to treat your condition.

You should also consider medication. Millions of people have had success with antidepressant medication. Medication works best when the client is also in psychotherapy.

Acquiring psychological services typically begins by visiting your primary care physician. Report your symptoms and ask for a referral to a mental health professional. Typically, you will either be referred to a psychologist or a clinical social worker for psychotherapy services. Your primary care physician may prescribe an antidepressant or suggest that you seek specialized services with a psychiatrist.

Therapy is the perfect place to learn to overcome your shyness. Being reserved may be your description of an inability to open up to another. Being reserved and shy is not beneficial to you. It is problematic for almost all people who feel this way. Have you ever wished you weren’t that way? Without exception, every client of mine who has described themselves as you have would have answered that they wished they weren’t that way. That is was and has been a problem in their lives. Shyness is a fear. Generally, shy people have been hurt early in their lives, when they opened up to someone. They were ridiculed or made fun of. They may have been described as being “too sensitive.” Sensitivity, as we speak of it here, is a gift to poets, philosophers, writers and therapists. Being described as “insensitive” is an insult. You need to learn techniques and methods to deal with social interaction while fully maintaining your sensitivity. A good therapist can teach you exactly what you need to learn.

Please search my earlier posts for my advice on how to find a good therapist.

Little things, over time, can add up to full-blown depression. Thank you for writing and from one sensitive person to another, know that I am rooting for you.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Do I Have Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/12/do-i-have-depression-3/

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