Q: I am trying to figure out if I suffer from depression. I have an appointment to see my family doctor, but I want to cancel it now that I’ve made it. I’ve always thought that if one were truly suffering from depression they wouldn’t know it or wouldn’t even consider it. How does one know if they do or don’t suffer from depression? How do you know when to seek treatment and when you’re blowing it out of proportion?

A. In my opinion, the fact that you are writing to me about depression and have made an appointment to talk to your doctor about depression indicates to me that you are suffering with depressive symptoms. There is really no clear cut way to know if you are suffering from depression. I strongly encourage you to talk with your doctor about your symptoms and consider attending talk therapy about what has been bothering you. Don’t continue to suffer because you think that do not meet the exact criteria for a depression diagnosis. If you are feeling lousy and you find yourself feeling sad, hopeless and just generally unhappy with everyday life, I would say that you are suffering with depression symptoms and that treatment should be initiated. When in doubt, get help. You are not blowing anything out of proportion. You deserve to be happy and content with life.