What is clinical depression? In a nutshell, it is a mental health disorder or illness, which is characterized by persistently low moods, a constant sense of hopelessness or despair, and/or the loss of interest in daily activities for a period of at least two weeks or longer. Most symptoms occur on an almost daily basis.
Clinical depression is a serious condition that can wreak havoc on our daily lives. Talk to your doctor, your therapist, or even friends and family. You don’t have to go through it alone. a few things you can do to start the process towards managing and ideally vanquishing the darkness.
First, believe it or not, there are two comprehensive questionnaires called the Patient Health Questionnaires that you can find and complete online.
Developed by Dr. Spitzer, Dr. Williams, and Dr. Kroenke, the Patient Health Questionnaire provides a points-based question and answer format that allows you to determine the level of depression you may be suffering from. The initial questionnaire, also called the PHQ-2, has 2 questions and a points scale of 0-6. You can find it HERE. The follow-up questionnaire, also referred to as the PHQ-9 has 9 questions and a points range from 0-27.
When completing the questionnaires, keep in mind that they were designed to be discussed and looked at with your doctor or therapist so that you can get clarity on the data, ask questions, and receive direction on the best ways to help you at your particular level.
Finally, as promised, here are some other ways to help with your journey to healing.
1) Journaling- when you’re exhausted, filled with body aches, and restlessness, the last thing you probably want to do is write. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t have to be every single day and it doesn’t need to be a novel. If all you can do at first is just write one word over and over again, that’s okay.
2) Eliminate pressure phrases, such as should, must, or have to. Slowly work on changing those negative thoughts into positive ones because putting yourself down is not going to help you feel better about yourself or your life. Be kind to yourself and give yourself grace.
3) Move, walk, and practice smiling- it may feel odd, awkward, or even too hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Lastly, and most importantly, remember that you are not alone. As a matter of fact, you can even start journaling with “I am not alone”. Hugs and healing.