When to Get Help for Depression

April 8, 2021 Annabelle Clawson

It's tricky to determine when to get help for depression. You, like me, might think: "Am I even depressed, or am I just lazy?" or "Why am I making such a big deal out of this?" I tried to convince myself that I didn't need professional help, that I could figure it out on my own. But getting help for depression was one of the bravest and best choices I've ever made. 

When I Knew It Was Time to Get Help for Depression

When I was 21, severe anxiety symptoms crept into my life. I felt confused. As far as I knew, my mental health was fine, great, even. I was happy. I was only crying myself to sleep at night and avoiding human interaction at all costs. But that was normal, right? However, anxiety doesn't like being ignored. I had a major breakdown, so serious that I went to stay with my parents for a few weeks. I saw a professional who diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder.

Coming to terms with my anxiety diagnosis meant making adjustments. I had to get more sleep. I had to spend a lot more time by myself. I had to cut down on school and work. And yet, I still felt empty. Life felt strange, like I was trapped in a snow globe. Staring at the wall became my favorite new hobby. The things I used to love had no spark for me anymore.

Why I Got Help for Depression

I resisted believing that I had depression. I was terrified. I felt like a diagnosis would make it worse. If I ignored my depression symptoms, if I pretended that I wasn't eating cereal for three meals a day and sleeping for 16 hours a night, then maybe it would have less power over me. And even if there weren't an official diagnosis, I was scared of therapy. Would it leave me feeling more broken?

My sister noticed that something was wrong, and she urged me to get help for depression. She helped me reach out to a therapist. Contrary to what I had assumed, my experience in therapy was life-changing. The therapist didn't just slap a depression diagnosis on me and say goodbye. He listened, helped me sort out my thoughts, and taught me coping skills that I still draw upon today. 

Deciding to Get Help for Depression

Knowing when to get help for depression may look different for you than it did for me. It's important to know the symptoms of major depressive disorder: prolonged sadness, lack of passion for activities that you used to love, sleeping too little or too much, and feeling worthless are a few. If you're experiencing these symptoms, you can benefit from professional help. Therapists and psychiatrists can give you advice, coping skills, medication, and other resources. Getting help doesn't magically flip a switch, but it does give you tools for fighting depression.

APA Reference
Clawson, A. (2021, April 8). When to Get Help for Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Annabelle Clawson

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