How Do You Know If It’s Depression or ‘the Blues?’

How Do You Know If It’s Depression or ‘the Blues?’

November 14, 2017 Bipolar blog depression mental illness

This is a sponsored post; details at the bottom.

I know when I’m depressed. It’s extremely clear to me when bipolar depression hits, but not everyone is in that situation. Many people are experiencing depression for the first time, or are experiencing a form of sadness that is not diagnosable depression. But for those people, how do they know if it’s depression or just a temporary case of “the blues?”

My First Depression as a Teen

When I was first in a major depression, I didn’t know it. Actually, no one did. In my case, I had a pretty messed up family life and I was a teenager, so every depression symptom was blamed on life circumstances and the fact I was a teen. Unfortunately, this missed the existence of major depressive disorder and denied me real treatment for years. I saw a counselor, but there was no talking my way out of a major mental illness. (In my case, I also had short bouts of hypomania, but, of course, that was never caught either.)

I really wish that I’d have had access to some education about major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder but, unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t think depression existed and I thought it was just a personal weakness. I was raised that way. I figured I could never be one of “those people” because I was strong and could “pull myself up by my bootstraps.”

Of course, now I understand how wrong that line of thinking was, but it took me years to figure that out.

Depression vs. ‘the Blues’

The blues suck but major depressive disorder is much worse. But the question is, how do you know if your sadness is just "the blues" or actual depression?But as important as it is to understand if you’re experiencing an actual mental illness, it’s also important to know if you’re not. Major depression is a medical illness, and it isn’t just being sad. You need to experience other serious symptoms, too.

I hate thinking of people who are suffering but could be helped by counseling, rather than medication, going on life-altering drugs. In the case of a lesser sadness without the symptoms of major depressive disorder, there are many options for help. I’m not saying help isn’t needed, I’m just saying that for “the blues,” other options are likely better, at least to start with.

Learning About ‘the Blues’ and Depression

So today I’m pointing people to a fully-anonymous survey and educational tool that will teach you about real major depression and major depression vs. normal sadness that we all experience. And remember, we are heading into the holidays where “the blues” vs. depression is a real issue for so many people.

This survey and educational tool is provided by Med-IQ, an accredited medical education company. This tool and survey actually teach you what I think people should know about major depression and dispels so many of the myths I know I believed when I was less educated about mental illness.

I hope you will take this survey and learn the facts about depression. I also hope you will share it with your loved ones who may not know as much as you do. Yes, it’s about screening, but it’s also about learning. (No specific treatments/medications are recommended in the tool.)

Be Entered to Win a $100 Visa Gift Card

Oh, and one other thing, once you complete the survey, if you choose to, you can be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card. (It’s an anonymous survey so you’re only entered if you choose to share your information.)

Learn more and take the survey here.

I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All my opinions are my own and no treatments/pharmaceuticals are endorsed in any way.


About Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is an award-winning writer, speaker and consultant from the Pacific Northwest. She has been living with bipolar disorder for 18 years and has written more than 1000 articles on the subject.

Natasha’s New Book

Find more of Natasha’s work in her new book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. Media inquiries can be emailed here.

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