Is It Depression or Is It Just Depression? – Throwback


Every week I go through at least one day that I feel depressed. When that happens, I always have to ask one question, “Am I suffering a depressive episode, or am I dealing with a typical day that I’m just feeling the blues? Is it just a normal depression that most people deal with now and again?” I was going through one of those episodes recently when I happened to have an appointment with my pdoc. I explained to him what I was going through and told him I was having some depressing days, and wasn’t sure if it was normal depression or did it feel exceptionally bad because I don’t have them as often as I use to. His one sentence response was, “Yes, that is the big question.” That was the best response he could give me?! That was no response at all. I left feeling more frustrated than when I arrived.


Depressed and sad emoticon with hands on face

“Over the millennia scientists from many different disciplines have struggled with the issue of defining what is normal and what is abnormal or pathological with respect to human bodily or mental states and human behavior,” Klaus Scherer and Marc Mehu of the Swiss Center of Affective Sciences commented. They added:

Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists are often called upon to reliably distinguish between normal and abnormal emotions. Increasingly this is done with the help of diagnostic category systems developed by professional associations and health organizations like the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM). In consequence, the definition of abnormal emotionality proposed by these classification systems has an extraordinary impact on the diagnosis and treatment of what is perceived as emotional disorders or disturbances.

The DSM- 5 (The current issue of the DSM) specifies that the clinician should exert judgment when diagnosing depression after bereavement, but the continuum between what emotional state is normal and what is abnormal makes the process difficult, especially in the absence of agreed upon criteria.

I don’t know about you, but none of this gives me the answer I want. All this psychological mumbo jumbo seems to ask a lot of questions, with little or no answers. My pdoc refuses to give me anything that may lift my spirits. He did increase the dosage of one of my anti-depressants, but to me, I need just a little more of a lift, but he refuses. As I’ve said in a previous post, he’s concerned about giving me more because on one office visit I was clearly in a manic state. He’s never forgotten that day, but it seems like he has amnesia for all the days that I’ve been depressed.

In the end, I guess it’s up to me. Not that I can change the medications I’m on. It’s up to me to ride the storm. Don’t become hopeless when I’m feeling depressed. Instead, accept it’s only temporary. Whether it’s a short episode or a long one, I have to focus on the fact that it always goes away. Learning to ride it out is difficult. It took me a long time for it to be instinctive, but I believe I’ve learned to do it in most instances. It was worth the effort to learn.



SAGE Publications. “Are your emotional responses normal or abnormal? Report examines the difference between normal, abnormal emotion in how we diagnose depression.” ScienceDaily. (accessed July 23, 2015).Is It Depression or Is It Just Depression?

14 comments on Is It Depression or Is It Just Depression? – Throwback

  1. Sorry about the “T”-my iPad signed me out right as I was typing.
    That T was the beginning of:
    Thanks for this post. I think it’s so relatable and I definitely feel like I experience that a lot. It’s so easy (at least for me) to just fall into the black-and-white trap of “I’m either depressed or manic-no in between” that I forget I can experience human emotions like a “normal” person and just have a crap day or a happy day without fear of sliding to an extreme. Definitely a post that got me thinking today!

    1. Yeah, if circumstances were different, I probably would. As it stands, I go to a county mental health clinic and he is the head psychologist. If I changed, it would be a doctor doing his residency who would have to report to him regarding any med changes. etc. So, nothing would really change.

  2. I was glad to come across your blog. I am bipolar 2 as well as heavy on the depression. What I didn’t know was that you don’t necessarily have to have manic phases. Instead I lost my filter and was saying and doing things at work that I had no recollection saying or doing. It was really scary to have people not believe me when I told them I didn’t know what they were talking about. Apparently stress had triggered me from “just” depression to bipolar. I lost my job over my behaviour. Am now working at another job that pays less and I like a lot less. Take more sick days than most people due to depression but I try my best. It’s hard when you are working and yet fight this every day. Some weeks are very management, some not at all – can never predict.

    1. Sorry you had to settle on a less optimal job. I know it doesn’t help much, but you can only do the best that you can do. I don’t know when you were diagnosed, but eventually it does become more manageable. How manageable differs with each individual. Thank you for stopping in.

  3. I always love your ‘throw back’ posts. I was thinking, perhaps its because they are from a few years back, yet I can still identify with them. It makes me feel validated. And this subject especially. The ‘depression’ or ‘just depression’. And then also wanting to micro-manage my treatment because I feel I know my mind and body better than the doc. I’m nervous for an upcoming appointment because I want to tell him what to do, but at the same time I have to remind myself – just sit back and let him do his job. I’m in two minds about the appointment and am kinda dreading it. Its comforting to know you went through the same thing. Thanks Bradley

    1. I think it’s always comforting to find many of us are in the same boat. You are not alone. Remember that.

    2. Same! Your posts always brings me back to a place, if not a time one day that I can look forward to since I’m still a baby 😡

      I often wonder the same thing. Another example being… Am I nauseous because of the meds or because it’s just me? It’s so confusing and everyone including our docs are too. They do whatever works based on patterns. It seems impossible to look into and poke at everyone’s brains.

      1. I’m lazy so I pick out some of the ones I like most and post them on Thursday. Good to know people like them.

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