I want you to think about that question: Am I stressed or depressed? Because there is a big difference!
Honestly, it’s easy to get confused. It’s also easy to want to be confused as it’s often more acceptable to confess that you are struggling with stress than with depression. In our fast-paced, competitive, and wealth-driven societies, studies and surveys on stress are everywhere. Even though one condition is regularly concealed (see video below) and the other so common, doesn’t mean we should remain uninformed or indifferent to the more severe signs and symptoms of both.
The truth is that I don’t know anyone who has not encountered some form of long or short-term stress in his or her life. Think about it. Can you honestly say that each day of your life has been stress-free?
Stress is how we react to pressure or when things become unbearable. Some of the common life experiences that can cause stress are:
- Moving into a new home
- Planning a wedding
- Career changes
- Studying for exams
- Financial struggles
- Relationship difficulties
- Health complications
No wonder whenever we read about stress, it’s often in reference to how we can manage it! It’s universal! Nobody can promise you a stress-free life. Stress is here to stay and only you get to decide how you will treat this guest in your life. So, be mindful of your triggers.
Not all stress is bad. Acute stress is our body’s natural response to a new challenge or demand; its effects are moderate and even beneficial to body and mind. However, when acute stress occurs over prolonged periods of time, it is classified as chronic stress. And chronic stress kills. Physical and mental resources are depleted making sufferers more prone to heart and lung disease, cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and even suicide.
Now, is stress a risk factor for depression? Yes.
Do they have the same symptoms? Yes!
Chronic long-term stress and avoiding stress by thinking it will go away willingly puts you at risk for depression. What is depression? A mental illness or mood disorder.
Depression affects your moods, thoughts, behaviors, sleeping and eating patterns, and your overall health. Depression makes navigating simple daily tasks intolerable or impossible! Some of the common symptoms are:
- Prolonged feelings of sadness
- Lack of interest in hobbies or activities that you previously enjoyed doing
- Oversleeping or lack of sleep
- Fluctuations in weight
- Constant tiredness
- Frequent crying episodes
- Poor concentration
- Thoughts of death
You hear the word depression, but do you truly understand the gravity of this condition?
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Over 25 million individuals in the United States were living with major depression in 2014. Women are affected by depression to a greater degree than men. As mentioned in the video, 1 in 5 Canadians will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lifetimes. The other 4 will have a friend, family member or colleague who will. Worldwide, depression is a leading cause of suicide. Most importantly, the frequency and severity of symptoms increase over time if not properly addressed!
How do you know whether you are suffering chronic stress or depression? Take a mental health questionnaire. Or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional. If you are interested in having a free initial screening with us, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-494-5870.
We also recommend the following practices to fight chronic stress and depression:
- Seek Help from a Mental Health Professional
- Regular Exercise
- Goal Planning
- Social Interaction
- Group Therapy
- Practice Gratitude
Please know that chronic stress and major depression are treatable! Do not suffer in silence and live your entire life as if underwater!
At Counseling Space, P.C., we are here to listen. We are here to empower you with the tools to lead more emotionally stable and fulfilling lives! We are here to serve you.
Wishing you an inspired and stress-free week!