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Beyond Gloom: Getting Out of Depression

Depression Counseling


Beyond Gloom: Getting Out of Depression


The World Health Organization called depression an “invisible epidemic” based on its worldwide prevalence. In the United States, the statistics are staggering. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 15.7 million adults, or 6.7% of the adult population, and 3 million adolescents (aged 12–17), or 12.5% of the teen population, experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2015.

The term “depression” is an everyday byword for a feeling of gloom or sadness. This feeling is a hallmark symptom of clinical depression, which is why it is also commonly called “the blues.” However, there is more to the condition than sadness. It can make your life miserable and damage your most valued relationships, health, and career. Thus, it is logical that you would want to extricate yourself from its dreadful symptoms.

The most important fact to acknowledge about depression is that it is a treatable condition. The best way out is through treatment. Depressed people who avoid treatment may feel shamed by the condition, think they can escape its clutches on their own, or fail to understand what it is; regardless, they will continue to suffer.


Understanding Depression—Toward Feeling Better

Many depressed individuals have difficulty taking steps to overcome the condition because they embrace fallacies or myths about depression. For instance, many are shamed by the condition, thinking that only weak people can be affected by it, that it isn’t a real illness, or that antidepressants are the only way out of it.

To steer yourself toward feeling better and successfully overcoming depression, do yourself a favor: learn some basic facts about depression. Knowledge is empowering. It can lead you to the right decisions and help. Some of the most salient points to know are:


First, depression is a real condition and not just a fleeting sadness. It is a condition that can be triggered by an imbalance in brain chemicals or neurotransmitters. This means that you can’t free yourself from it by willpower alone, without professional assistance. This also means that you didn’t get it because you were weak, so there is no reason to feel ashamed.

Second, your symptoms may not be the same as those of others. If you have relatives who are or have been depressed, the condition may manifest differently in you, but you may still have depression. You need to see an expert for evaluation and diagnosis to be certain.

Third, you need not wait for your symptoms to get worse or prolong your suffering; depression is treatable. If you have a genetic predisposition to depression or are experiencing a severe episode, you may think that you’re doomed. Know that you have the power to protect yourself by proactively seeking professional assistance.

And fourth, the symptoms can be different because there are several subtypes of depression. Depression can be linked to other emotional or psychological conditions—this is called comorbidity. For instance, it can be linked to anxiety, resulting in overlapping symptoms and making diagnosis and treatment more difficult. Other types of depression include Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), manic depression or depression with mixed features, and other types that are situation-specific (premenstrual dysphoric disorder, postpartum depression, and depression coexisting with chronic medical ailments).


The Symptoms: Do You Have Them?

Is it possible to be depressed and not be aware of it? The emotional condition is more than just feeling blue. A depressed person can be overwhelmed by other symptoms besides sadness. It is also possible for the condition to creep up gradually, so that you may have become used to it and worn it like a second skin for a long time before diagnosis.   

Many people suffer without treatment because they do not know they are depressed. Wanting to stay cooped up in your room, or to sleep and eat all the time, could be things that you have been doing all along. If you are sleep-deprived, you may use it to justify your tiredness, lack of interest in many things, and physical pain. These are nonspecific symptoms—even people who aren’t depressed can occasionally experience them.

So, how do you know that there’s more to your changes in sleeping/eating patterns, being disinterested, wanting to be alone, etc.? According to Good Therapy, “To be diagnosed with depression, a person has to have several (but not all) of the symptoms from a diagnostic list outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).” These include: 

  • Lack of interest or pleasure in anything
  • Significant increase or decrease in eating
  • Insomnia or over-sleeping
  • Restlessness or being slowed down physically
  • Fatigue or low energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Inability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Lack of enjoyment or interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Feeling hopeless, empty, or pessimistic


In addition, you may experience numbness or not feeling anything at all, or alternatively, intense anger and frequent irritability. It is also common for depressed individuals to “somatize” their gloom, or transform it into pain. If your doctor says there’s nothing medically wrong with you, see a therapist—unexplained physical pain could be a sign of depression. One of the worst things that can happen to you is seeking transient relief from addictive substances or self-harm.


Nobody’s Above Depression

Depression respects no age, gender, ethnicity, social status, or economic background, though some people can be more vulnerable to it. While there isn’t a well-established single cause, it is widely held that certain factors increase the risk of depression. These are genetics or family history (those who “have it in their blood” are more at risk), personality (low self-esteem, introversion, self-criticism, etc.), personal circumstances (such as an ailment, use of certain medications, or dependence on addictive substances), and quality of life (abuse, conflict, or other traumatic experiences).

Even children as young as infants can have depression. For the very young ones, it could be difficult to tell if their tantrums are just a passing stage or a symptom that needs attention. This is why they often go undiagnosed, which can mean rough years while growing up. Untreated, the condition may continue through their adolescence. Is depression undermining your teen? Teens can be more naturally vulnerable to depression because of the enormous biological, social, and academic changes going on in their lives. It is easy for a parent not to recognize the signs, thinking it is just another teen thing.

The incidence of depression is higher among adults and older adults. Men and women may manifest varying signs and symptoms. NIMH reports that women usually exhibit symptoms such as feelings of “sadness, worthlessness, and guilt.” On the other hand, men are likely to manifest symptoms such as fatigue, anger and irritability, sleeplessness, and loss of interest in many things. Older adults, especially those with chronic conditions, may have higher susceptibility to depression.


Rising above the Gloom

The gloom that envelops you or a loved one could be depression. The best way to find out if you are part of the “invisible epidemic” is to consult a therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC. Becoming depressed has nothing to do with being weak. If you are predisposed, protect yourself early by proactively seeking the professional help of the right CCS therapist. If you are already depressed, it isn’t too late. 

Remember, depression is a condition that needs to be treated. We at Carolina Counseling Services — Pinehurst, NC, can provide the assistance you need to ease your symptoms so you can better navigate through life. Don’t let yourself be defeated by a condition that can be overcome. With a proper diagnosis and treatment, bouncing back and enjoying your life is something you can look forward to.


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Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
Insurance: BCBSTricare Prime/Select, Medicare and Cash
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Location: Pinehurst, NC

Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash
Credit Cards:  
Location: Pinehurst, NC

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Fayetteville, NC 28311