Daily Prompt: Singing the Blues We all feel down from time to time. How do you combat the blues? I follow my own Emotional Fitness Program.
Getting down is not the same as being clinically depressed. Many clinically depressed people don’t understand the difference.
One young woman once said to me, “You mean it isn’t normal to plan on killing myself every day?”
My reply, “No. That is clinical depression. ”
What makes the difference? Two things in her statement tipped me off. And by the way, I am a licensed therapist. First tip: She was planning her death. She knew exactly what she would do and had the pills saved.
Fleeting thoughts of “I can’t take this” or “Wonder what it would feel like to die?” can be a normal part of going through a very tough time. Making plans to end your life is not.
Second tip: The every day bit. Nothing made her happy, nothing gave her pleasure, she could not envision a happy future.
Important fact: This young woman hid her depression well, seemed happy even to those who knew her well, seemed to have it all. She was not a patient, but a student who spoke to me after a class and together we went to the Emergency Room. She was not admitted, I didn’t think she would be, but wanted her to hear from others the extent of her struggle. She was placed on medication, referred for treatment. At the end of the semester she thanked me, and said, “My smiles are real now.”
When I directed a Mental Health Crisis Team in NYC before, during, and after 911 I developed a number of check lists to help people understand how a Mental Health Professional decided which label might fit. Here is the one for depression.
More research based depression check lists are available on-line. I don’t have the funds to get my little check-list research based, but staff, family members and people coping with sadness or depression found it useful. I used my check lists as a psycho-educational tool. I hope this one helps you decide if you need treatment or are coping well enough on your own.
If you are new to the idea of emotional fitness exercises visit this blog page: Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises to get started improving your emotional intelligence.
Thank you all for all you do to care and share with others. Doing a little matters a lot.
You can get The Beat the Blues Poster at the EFTI Store. It is free for now.