Is This Depression?

by Dr. Linda Johnston, Clinical Psychologist

Understanding what depression is and isn't can sometimes be confusing. First, clinical depression is NOT a quick dip in mood. The words “depressed”, “depression”, and “depressing” are words very commonly used in our day-to-day language. Any one of us might say “That’s depressing” or “I feel depressed” when we mean we feel disappointed or sad, we are experiencing a “dip” in our mood or we are in a situation in which we are experiencing a negative emotional response. If this dip in mood lasts only minutes, hours, or a couple of days, we are not likely experiencing clinical depression.

Unfortunately, many people nowadays are quite familiar with the more classic form of clinical depression with several of these possible symptoms: prolonged down, sad mood; low energy; little or no drive or motivation; a need for more sleep; and sometimes even a significantly increased or significantly decreased appetite.

One lesser-known form of depression is an angry depression. The individual experiences unwarranted and/or excessive anger either sporadically or frequently (including feeling that “I’m angry all the time”) in addition to some of the classic symptoms. This creates a situation in which the person doesn’t necessarily ‘appear’ depressed; they appear to have a lot of high anger energy; but, watch for the other symptoms.

If you think you or a family member are experiencing significant symptoms of clinical depression, consider taking action sooner rather than later. Either see your family doctor or see a psychologist. The sooner you begin to get treatment, the better.