Having a bad day is par for the course when you have a human body, and even more so when you have tiny little people running all over your house, toys littering the living room, laundry piled to the ceiling, dishes cluttering the counters and three-day hair.
All about “mommy moods”
Being cranky and grumpy can be perfectly normal. Except when it isn’t. As a woman who has struggled with depression most of my adult life and post-partum with both kids, I know that sometimes it can be pretty hard to tell the difference between being cranky within reason and slugging through a depressive state.
An article by Natasha Tracy, a writing who specializes in writing about depression topics, makes this distinction between sadness and depression:
“Sadness is not constant. Sadness is not an every-moment-of-every-day thing like depression is. Sadness relents, depression doesn’t. Sadness may reduce our ability to enjoy life but it doesn’t destroy it all together.”
While I do not entirely agree with her definition, it is a solid assessment. I firmly believe you can be depressed and still laugh. You can have better days. The big thing to note here is that when you are depressed, you have prolonged periods of sadness and it is more than a day or two.
Pysch Central says that when people use “depressed” interchangeably with sadness they are minimizing the disease. Sadness can pass while depression hangs on. In order for a doctor to diagnose someone as depression, the symptoms must last or at least two weeks.
Something surprising about depression: you might not actually feel sad. In many cases, depression is marked by a complete lack of interest of enjoyment in activities you use to like doing. In order to qualify for a diagnosis of depression patients are required to have at least five of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Fatigue, lack of energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Loss of interest in activities
- Overeating or no-eating
- Sad/Empty/Anxious Feelings.
- Suicidal thoughts
For a long time I thought I was bonkers, that I could not possibly be depressed. After all, I am married to a good man and I have two beautiful kids. Then I saw the list of symptoms and I could check off more than five.
Depression is serious business. Sadness is normal. It sucks, but it is normal and it will pass. Depression usually requires professional help. But exercise and healthy diet can also help relieve symptoms. If you think you may be depressed, check out this quiz on Psych Central and take the results to your doctor so you can get the help you need.