I’m happily married, have healthy children, and a great job. However, I feel like crying all the time. I can’t shake the feeling that something important is missing from my life. I am also very short tempered. It has been about five months and these feelings haven’t gone away. Is this an early sign of depression? Should I see a physician or psychologist?
The past few months have been really depressing and overwhelming for me. I have never slipped so far into such a deep funk before. I am trying to stop this feeling of hopelessness but everywhere I turn there is something else going wrong. I am starting to miss work because I just can’t function anymore. What is going on here?
These people are all experiencing an insidious, pervasive deterioration in their sense of well-being and are having difficulties coping and functioning. They struggle for control and only reluctantly entertain the possibility of “depression,” with its implications of mystery, shame, and loss of self-control.
I wish I could reassure them that everything is going to be okay if they just get more exercise, eat certain dietary supplements, read a good self-help book, and take some St. John’s wort. Not that these suggestions are bad, but they are an insufficient response to developing depression.
Depression is a disease that should be taken seriously. It needs outside assessment by a professional person, preferably a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or other psychotherapist. In general, I think a psychiatrist is best equipped for the evaluation and management of major depression. Psychiatrists are trained in medicine and treatment of emotional illness. They can utilize both psychological and biological treatments. Depression is a treatable condition, but untreated it exacts an enormous toll in mental suffering; social, marital, and economic stress and damage; and despair and suicide.
If you or a friend or family member is possibly depressed, see a professional for early recognition and proper treatment. For more information, see our depression article archives.