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Signs and Symptoms of Depression






I have found myself having a lot of conversations about depression lately. From clients to friends to colleagues, sadness and disappointment have many people in their grasp these days. I imagine that local, national, and global events are major contributing factors. Whether you call recent U.S. economic challenges the Great Recession or the 2nd Great Depression (hmmm, there’s that word again), unemployment & stagnant wages & cuts to services to our most vulnerable are crippling the nation. Then there’s the Haiti earthquake, the BP Oil Spill, the Japan earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis, and the various wars the U.S. is participating in. Lots of reasons to be bummed, especially if you watch mainstream news on a regular basis.

Sadness is a normal human emotion and while it may not be pleasant to feel, it is an essential part of our experience. I think it is important to be sad about the above laundry list of alarming events… Sadness — like all our other emotions — can be a messenger, if we let it. Sadness alerts us that something important, significant, meaningful is happening. Whether sad at the end of a fun experience or about living far from family or about the loss of a job or loved one, sadness is part of our collective story. In addition, one cannot be happy all the time. In fact, we call it mania when someone’s mood is excessively positive for too long. Think about the cycles of nature… There is birth, growth, death. Plants require both sunshine and rain to grow, so how can we expect only sunshine in our own lives? As the book of Ecclesiastes notes, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.”

While personal challenges and socio-political factors have a huge impact on a person’s mood, there is a significant difference between general sadness and clinical depression. True clinical depression is deeply painful (both emotionally & physically) and makes it difficult for a person to function normally. The disorder takes over a person’s thoughts, turning them almost exclusively to the negative (or at least making it really hard to think anything positive). There is huge body of research on what is happening in the brain on a neurochemical level in a depressed person, but that’s beyond my purpose here in this article. I’ll focus instead of the different types of depression, their symptoms, and some resources for more information.



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About the Author

Amber Keating, Soulful Healing
12520 Magnolia Blvd., Suite 308
Valley Village, CA 91607
818-481-5130

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