Whether you’re suffering from occasional depressive symptoms or a major depressive disorder (MDD), understanding and appreciating your own condition is the first step to feeling better.
It’s okay to discover you’re depressed. In fact, it’s the first and perhaps most important step towards resolving your condition and finding a better life. You’re not alone. About 10% of all Americans have major depression, and around 25% will endure MDD during their lives at some point.
Before you start treating yourself, you should exercise self-awareness. What are you feeling? What has changed? What can you do to address what you’re feeling or what has changed?
One way to isolate and identify how you’re feeling is to empower yourself with better definitions for your different emotional states. Understand that dysphoria and anhedonia are widely accepted and understood states of mind. Don’t bully yourself for experiencing them; instead, seek help from friends, family members or professionals.
You don’t have to keep feeling this way. There really is a more hopeful and fulfilling life somewhere in your future… but you need to face your condition and address it.
Dysphoria is a real condition that can be triggered by mood disorders or ordinary life events. When you experience dysphoria, you experience intense feelings of detachment or dissatisfaction. It manifests in strong depressive feelings. When you feel lost and down and out, like you have no control and no prospects, you’re enduring dysphoria. Everyone experiences dysphoria at some point in there lives. But sometimes it persists longer or in a more potent form.
Anhedonia occurs when you’re unable to experience pleasure in activities that previously brought you some degree of joy. This can be social activities, personal hobbies, sexual activities… anything where you previously anticipated the activity with excitement and then savored it, but now it no longer does anything for you.
If you think you experience anhedonia, I encourage you to determine why. Try to figure out what can you do to rekindle your joy, and if it feels too difficult or in any way futile, seek help (see below for resources).
When Dysphoria and Anhedonia Collide
Sometimes these conditions are ephemeral. They come and go and exist separately from one another. But when dysphoria and anhedonia collide, you risk a major depressive disorder. This is a serious medical condition and if you believe you are experiencing this collision, I urge you to seek medical attention. There are solutions, there is hope and there is a better life in your future.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
If you feel you experience the following symptoms in a persistent manner and/or in a manner that in any way impairs your ability to function in a social or occupational capacity, I encourage you to seek assistance. While rhodiola rosea is known to be a mood booster, it is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing persistent symptoms. I’ll provide some resources for you at the end of this article.
- Ruminating on worthlessness or hopelessness
- Obsessing on guilt or regret
- A persistent sense of futility or helplessness
- Poor concentration and memory
- Difficulty making decisions
- Withdrawal from usual social behavior and activities
- Reduced sex drive
- Dwelling on thoughts of death or suicide
- Hypersomnia (oversleeping)
- Significant and recent weight loss or weight gain
- Fatigue or just feeling tired all the time
- Irritable mood; quick to temper or susceptible to sudden mood changes
In developing countries, symptoms often manifest in physical form, such as digestive distress and/or as headaches. In children, MDD often manifests as persistent irritability along with unusual signs of dependence, being demanding or exhibiting signs of exceptional insecurity.
Again, if you experience several of these symptoms with any persistence and they inhibit your normal social and occupational function, I encourage you to seek help. It is important you recognize you are suffering from a condition that may be beyond your control.
It is also important you appreciate that this condition can be treated and that you don’t have to keep experiencing these feelings and thoughts. You really can get better and experience a more fulfilling and hopeful life.
Try these resources right away: