Nothing’s Wrong

So Why Do I Feel So Depressed?

When patients report feeling depressed but nothing is wrong in their lives, they may be clinically depressed. A chemical imbalance may be causing their depressive symptoms although nothing is actually wrong. So, what should clinicians do when their patients are feeling depressed, but nothing is wrong? First, here are some questions to ask clients to determine if they are clinically depressed:

  • Q Are you living with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness?
  • Q Are you more irritable than usual?
  • Q Have you lost interest in things that used to make you happy?
  • Q Are you not sleeping as well as you used to?
  • Q Have your sleep patterns changed? Are you spending more time in bed?
  • Q Have your eating patterns changed? Have you lost or gained weight?
  • Q Are you more anxious than you used to be?
  • Q Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness?
  • Q Do you have a hard time focusing?
  • Q Do you think about committing suicide?
  • Q Do you have new physical problems, like headaches or backaches?

An answer “yes” to any, or all, of these questions, your client might be struggling with clinical depression.

Clinical depression is a disease caused by a chemical imbalance — the same as heart disease, the same as thyroid disease. Clinical depression is perceived by many in society as a personal weakness. Patients may face questions such as, How can you be depressed if nothing is wrong?

Fortunately, more and more people are speaking up about living with mental illness. Clinicians can make a difference by assuring patients that depression can occur without an obvious cause and prescribing medications when needed to restore chemical deficits that may be present.