What Is High-Functioning Depression?

depressed woman working on laptop coffee mug

Imagine someone who seems to be living a perfect life. She has a great job, a loving and supportive partner, and plenty of fun outside of work. Getting to the office on time is no problem, and she is one of the most productive employees at her company.

There’s one problem, though: she is miserable, unable to derive happiness from much of anything. Because she lives with high-functioning depression, it is difficult for people to understand how anything could be wrong. Continue reading What Is High-Functioning Depression?

5 Tips to Prepare for the Season of SAD

woman holding coffee mug during winter snowing

Up to 10% of the American population lives with SAD [Seasonal Affective Disorder]. In the fall and winter months, when the days are shortest, Seasonal Affective Disorder can be very challenging to deal with. As the name suggests, those who live with the disorder may experience a cluster of depressive symptoms such as feeling low or depressed, sleeping too much, experiencing low motivation, and so forth.

SAD can put a strain on those living with the condition. This post includes some tips to help you prepare for the upcoming season of SAD. Continue reading 5 Tips to Prepare for the Season of SAD

Mental Health in Bed: Sex and Depression

man woman in bed depressed

To make life with depression even more depressing, the mental illness can seriously mess with your sex life. Unfortunately, depression can go hand in hand with sexual dysfunction, which can affect everything from your libido to your ability to orgasm. This can be rough on not only the person suffering, but also on the person’s partner, and can put a strain on relationships.

Just as not everyone feels comfortable opening up about their mental illness, not everyone feels comfortable opening up about their sex life. And they’re even less likely to open up about it if they have a problem and feel like they’re broken or not “normal.” Can you blame anyone for not divulging when the word “dysfunction” has such a negative denotation? Sadly, it’s pretty common for people with depression to have their sex life interrupted in one way or another. Continue reading Mental Health in Bed: Sex and Depression

What Is Crippling Depression?

depressed man in bed dark room

Sometimes popular phrases used to describe mental illness do not come from research, universities or mental health organizations. Instead people who live with certain disorders use unofficial terms to express levels of severity and describe how symptoms are affecting their functioning.

Because many sufferers are therapy clients and use this language during sessions, mental health professionals gradually adopt new labels into their clinical lexicon. This acceptance gives the language more weight and credibility. Various definitions spread via word of mouth and the internet until there is a collective sense of meaning.

“Crippling depression” is a perfect example of this phenomenon. People invented the phrase to stress the fact that depression can be more than a source of pain and discomfort. The illness can limit the will and capability to uphold a basic standard of living. Now that the term has become more popular, both the curious and afflicted are trying to understand it. Continue reading What Is Crippling Depression?

Lying About Your Depression Will Make It Worse

lying child with fingers crossed behind back

In high school I lied to my doctor. My mother had long suspected I was dealing with depression. She talked to our family doctor about it and then scheduled an appointment for me.

When I went in for my check up, my doctor asked me if I was depressed. I lied. I told him that I was not depressed.

Continue reading Lying About Your Depression Will Make It Worse

The Stigma of Depression

woman fading away in pieces illustration

The stigma of depression is alive.

When we have depression, we are “lesser people.” We are incapable of living a “normal” life, holding down a job, or keeping a relationship. We are the ones that “normal” people don’t know how to deal with. They keep away, because we are contagious. They don’t want to contract the “crazy.”

At least, this is what many people think. None of it is true, of course. This is the stigma that follows us around daily when we suffer from depression — like a mosquito we keep swatting away that keeps coming back to bite us.

On whom can we place the blame for the creation and longevity of the stigma? Our friends and family who don’t fully understand depression? The media? Society as a whole? Continue reading The Stigma of Depression

How You Can Help People With Depression

women friends hugging black and white image

More than 300 million people in the world are living with depression, according to the World Health Organization. Chances are you know someone who has struggled to cope with this often debilitating mental health condition. They might be a friend, co-worker, family member, even your significant other.

If you want to support them, the first step is ensuring they actually have the illness. A classic mistake is confusing normal sadness or grief with clinical depression. People need support in both situations, but helping someone with depression requires different methods. Continue reading How You Can Help People With Depression

Living with Summer Depression: ‘Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder’

summer sky shadow over woman

When people talk about seasonal depression, we usually think of the “wintertime blues.” But there are those who live with a rarer form of Seasonal Affective Disorder known as “summer SAD.”

What was previously known as Seasonal Affective Disorder is now under the criteria for Major Depressive Disorder with a specifier for a seasonal pattern. Referred to as “wintertime blues,” those living with seasonal depression report episodes of fatigue, depressed or sad mood, and a host of other symptoms. For most, this occurs when the days are shorter, darker and cooler, usually during the fall and winter months.

What is less common — yet still valid — is summer SAD. Much like it’s wintertime counterpart, summer depression leaves those living with the condition feeling fatigued, hopeless, and lethargic. The difference is it has this effect during months when people are expected to be bright, happy, and excited. This can be frustrating for those with summer sadness. The pressure to seem well can exacerbate the depressive symptoms they may be experiencing. Continue reading Living with Summer Depression: ‘Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder’

How to Deal With Multiple Mental Illnesses

brain diagram chart illustration connecting dots

Having a mental illness can change your life. Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness can alter the way you live every day. While this can certainly be hard, perhaps even more difficult is a diagnosis of two or more mental illnesses.

Having more than one medical illness is known as a comorbid condition. Unfortunately, comorbid mental illnesses are more common than most people think.

Comorbidity in Major Depression

The most common comorbidity with major depression is an anxiety condition. The comorbidity rate can be up to 60%. It’s so prevalent that the appearance of one disorder is often considered a predisposing factor for the other. Approximately 5-9% of the general adult population has an anxiety and depression diagnosis.

Patients with major depressive disorder also have higher rates of psychotic disorders and suicidal risk. Those with a higher suicide risk may have a higher risk of anxiety or psychotic disorder. Continue reading How to Deal With Multiple Mental Illnesses

How to Maintain Your Motivation While Depressed

depressed man sitting in bed

Most of us take action because we believe it will bring about a concrete benefit or result in future happiness. These prospects are what motivate us. Clinical depression, however, can change your brain in a way that makes it difficult to experience a sense of pleasure or reward. When depression makes you unbearably sad, numb, or exhausted, you might not feel like there is a reason to do anything. If nothing has satisfied you lately, you might think, “What’s the point?”

Fortunately there are mental techniques and strategies you can employ to gradually regain the motivation needed to live a full life. You can try them on your own or by working with a therapist. The latter, however, will most likely yield better, faster results.

Below are some strategies recommended by therapists who have worked with clients to restore their motivation during severe depression. Most of these solutions focus on incremental steps, so change is more manageable and easier to commit to. Continue reading How to Maintain Your Motivation While Depressed