I would like to thank you if you are responding to this message; this site helps out a lot.

About two years ago, I noticed that I felt… different. Not sure how to explain it, but I was more withdrawn and had less motivation to get up and do anything. It seems like emotional pleasure has just kind of left me. I try to get involved with fun activities, but I always feel empty afterwards. So now, I am slowly losing motivation to do anything that once interested me or gave me a “happy” feeling.

Even my emotions are different. Anger has been replaced with distress or fear, sadness is now more of a “down feeling”, and happiness has changed to apathy. Also, I can’t stop thinking. Literally, “thinking” keeps me awake at night. Even during the day I am so withdrawn and preoccupied with my mind that I can’t focus on what’s going on around me.

My family has no history of depression that I’m aware of, and I have never been to see a doctor for my symptoms. So, what do you think I should do?

A: I appreciate your letter. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of it.

The symptoms you are describing often go together as descriptors of depression. While I can’t diagnose a depressive episode over the Internet, I think that your concern that these may be depressive symptoms (even though depression doesn’t run in your family) is a good place to start.

Here is a link to PsychCentral’s guide, symptom checklist, and quiz and information article on depression. I think it would help.

I think going to your doctor is a good place to start and let him or her know your symptoms. As you list your age as 17 I would also talk to your school’s counselor about how you are feeling. If you are out of school you may want to use the find help tab at the top of the screen.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral