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Am I Depressed - Or Am I Just Unhappy?
Depression is a term that is being bandied around far too much, and depression is probably one of the most misdiagnosed and misunderstood emotional problems of them all. Let's find out if you are really depressed - or if you are just unhappy.
What is the difference between someone being depressed, and someone "just" being unhappy?
Find Out If You Are Really Suffering From Depression -
Or "Just" Unhappiness ...
Let's stop for a moment and consider what that means, to be unhappy.
Unhappiness can be very, very serious.
You could be held by radical extremists as a hostage in dreadful conditions, fearing for your life every second of every day.
You could be dying of a slow and painful illness.
You could be trapped in a horrendously abusive relationship full of mental and physical torture, day in, day out, with no escape.
You could be in constant pain, or not getting enough food or sleep so your body is slowly shutting down and your mental faculties are being eroded.
You could be under constant super-high stress because you simply work too hard, do too much or have too many responsibilities you find hard to cope with.
You could be burdened down by emotional stress - too much fear, too much anger, too much sadness, or too much grief to cope with on a daily basis.
ANY person who experiences any of these things is going to be - UNHAPPY.
The symptoms of this unhappiness look like the symptoms of depression - lack of appetite, lack of energy, sleep disturbances, mood swings, inability to see the bright side, inability to concentrate, thinking is clouded and woolly, no sex drive, no will to live, in other words.
And can you blame a person from the list above for feeling like that?
Of course not.
And in this observation lies the key to knowing whether you are actually depressed, or whether you are "just" unhappy.
If the situation and circumstances are such that ANY human being would become miserable, down, blue, unhappy UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, you are not depressed, you are just reacting to a bad situation in a natural normal human fashion.
If you take the person who was held hostage from my example above out of prison, they will IMMEDIATELY STOP showing these symptoms of depression - the instant the circumstances have changed. As soon as they're back with their family, they're no longer depressed as they were when they sat in their shabby prison cell, but they're happy, relieved, delighted, and thanking God each day they're here, and not there any longer.
Likewise, a person who is sick or in pain, as soon as they get better or the pain stops, they start to pick up and become happier.
This also holds the same way for people who were too stressed, too emotionally drained or too hungry, or too sleep deprived - all of that STOPS once you remove the person from the toxic situation, and they're not showing any symptoms of "depression" any longer.
If everything in the environment is ok, a person is basically healthy, well fed, has shelter and some people who care for them, no overwhelming responsibilities, no stress, and nothing to worry about, and they are STILL showing the same symptoms as a very unhappy person would, then there is something special going on, then there is real depression going on.
If a person shows the exact same symptoms of unhappiness EVEN WHEN THE SITUATIONS and environments ARE DIFFERENT - their mood stays the same, no matter where they are, who is with them, or what's going on around them - THEN and ONLY THEN do we have real depression, a form of energetic illness that needs help.
Before you rush to make that decision that "my environment is great and I have no reason to be unhappy so that must mean I'm suffering from depression," take a moment to really think about it.
The reason depression is so often misdiagnosed is because people take a lot for granted and don't question it enough.
For example, a lot of people are involved in long term, very destructive relationships that are causing their unhappiness directly, but they think that that is normal, or that that is something they can't do anything about, or that they've been suffering in this relationship for 20 years already and don't understand that it has worn them down to this crisis point over a long time.
Some people judge their lives by the fact that they live "in a nice house, have nice things and a nice family" but don't look under the surface where there may be serious emotional problems causing them to be truly unhappy, no matter what it looks like over the top to the neighbours.
Other people love their work and don't understand that it causes too much stress and is wearing down their body, mind and spirit; they don't think to look there for the real reason for their unhappiness.
Some people simply have the wrong idea of what can be reasonably expected from a human being in the way of how much suffering they can take and still run around like Superman and Superwoman with a perpetual smile on their faces, and mistreat themselves as a result into serious physical, mental and emotional unhappiness.
The only remedy in that case is not to have your head shrunk, to take medication or start a wild goose chase to "cure my depression" but instead, to think seriously about what changes you can make in your life to remove or at least alleviate some of those things that make you so unhappy, and to find ways to live a happier life, to bring more moments of happiness into your life, most practically.
Silvia Hartmann, May 2009