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Do I Have Depression or Was I Just Depressed?

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Hi! I am a 17 year old male and recently I was in a very dark place. I want to be in the military and/or a police officer when I meet the age requirement.I can not speak to a professional because a diagnosis would almost certanly end my prospect of being these things.

When I was younger, from pretty much kindergarten to seventh grade, I was severely bullied both physically and verbally by almost my entire class. This left me with what I believe was severe depression for about five years. During this period I thought about suicide almost daily and made plans once, but never attempted to follow through. I was not exercising and my health deteriorated quickly. I felt much better after starting to lift over a year ago. In late December I began to see my symptoms come back. First I lost my appetite, then my sleep dropped down to 4hrs a night. Pretty quickly after that I started feeling down and from there I plummeted in to a severely depressed state where I felt nothing for anyone and wanted to die. During this state I had recurring thoughts of suicide and three instances where I held a knife to my throat but never followed through and used it. I lost interest in all of my former hobbies including police explorers and my grades rapidly declined. One month ago I started cutting myself and two weeks ago I stopped the self harm. I cut myself a total of 117 times because I convinced myself I was a bad person and I deserved it. I have always done the right thing in my life. I reached out to the officers in charge of my explorer post to let them know what was happening. Roughly two weeks ago, I started seeing major improvement when one night I went in to a very depressed state and cut myself again. Since that night, my symptoms have almost completely vanished and whenever I do feel depressed or have thoughts of self-harm or suicide they are quickly dispelled. My life has been back to the way it was recently and I have been much happier. In your opinion, is it likely that I have major depression or was I just depressed? I want to plan for a (possible) future remission in my symptoms. Anything helps, thank you!

Do I Have Depression or Was I Just Depressed?

Answered by on -

A.

From the history that you have described, I would highly recommend an evaluation by a mental health professional. In most Western countries, medical histories are highly guarded and not available to employers. In Western countries, therapy is available within the military and within law enforcement.

Though some form of psychological testing is often utilized, at some point in the application process, for the military and for law enforcement, mental health records are typically not available. But let’s say that they were and let’s say that by seeking mental health treatment you would be forgoing the opportunity to become a police officer or a military officer. Do you really believe that you would be unhappy in every other occupation and more importantly, do you think any chosen occupation is more important than life itself?

Surely, you do not believe that the pleasure and meaning of life is derived solely from your occupation. If that were the case, then there would be no depressed police officers, military officers, surgeons, dentists, physicists, etc. It is good to find pleasure and meaning in your occupation and I don’t mean to underestimate that but for most people their job is a way to earn a living and they will choose the one that they dislike the least and pays the same.

I apologize for the evil and ignorance that propelled the bullies in your childhood. My apology appears here in black and white and is easily understood but Gods sorrow an apology, is not as apparent. There is goodness in this world and there are good people in this world and they understand and condemn the evil and torture that you experienced as a child. A deeper understanding of goodness or God, will also reveal his condemnation of the evil that these underdeveloped human beings heaped upon you.

The most important thing in your life and your goal should not be to become a police officer or a military officer but to remove and repair the damage done to you in the past. Ask yourself these questions. Would I be a different person today if I had not been bullied as a child? If, instead of bullying, I had received love and nurturing, would I be a different person today?

Good counseling can make things right again. Find a counselor you like as a person and give them the time they need to help you. Good luck.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Do I Have Depression or Was I Just Depressed?

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Do I Have Depression or Was I Just Depressed?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/03/23/do-i-have-depression-or-was-i-just-depressed/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 23 Mar 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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