Depression and mental health issues are all things that are widespread in our culture. Unfortunately, with the increase in comparisons thanks to inner struggles, social media or other factors, they’re both becoming more prevalent in men, with more guys coming to the forefront by speaking out about some of the internal mental health issues they’re dealing with.
On a more personal note, I’ve had some small battles with anxiety and the great unknown, fighting a battle with myself about where I should be and what I should be doing with my life. It’s tough, because there’s no such thing as normal these days, except for the fact that you’re going to have plenty of ups and downs in your life, and it’s all about how you respond and handle such adversity.
We’ve talked about mental health issues here plenty of times, discussing some of the things guys can help stay confident and positive in the face of such negative thoughts. But one needs to be careful when using the word depression, because that’s a different level of sadness that some guys just don’t understand. It’s more than being anxious. It’s more than being in a rut every now and then. It’s the feeling of hopelessness and pessimism. And to help you solve all those weird little demons you’ve got going on in your head, we’re giving you the different types of depression to help you identify and try to stabilize such negative mental health actions.
So how are the different types of depression defined?
This is tricky, because we all go through different things in life that lead to negative mental health thoughts, which can be seasonable or come and go depending on what’s going on in our lives. For example, following a breakup, you might be extremely sad, hurt and feeling lost. That’s momentary, however, and might feel like depression, but, after a while, may fade as you move on and continue to discover yourself more.
On the contrary, depression is defined as something lasting much longer, as in weeks, months or, terrifyingly, years. Where your mind can’t control the thoughts os insecurity, anxiety and sadness, leaving you in a sad state of mind that leads you to finding pessimism in nearly everything in your life.
When you begin to struggle with everyday tasks and your sadness begins to impact your ability to function, that’s when it’s time to really take your negative mental health seriously and talk to a professional.
Some of the signs associated with the different types of depression are:
- deep feelings of sadness
- dark moods
- feeling worthless or hopeless with no end in sight
- change in appetite
- change in sleep schedule
- low energy levels
- inability to gather thoughts and concentrate
- difficulty getting through normal activities or routines
- withdrawal from friends, family or other activities
- thoughts of death or self-harm
Depression comes and goes in everyone, impacting people differently, so it’s important to understand the different levels of depression to help identify how you can help combat and overcome it.
What are the different types of depression?
Commonly referred to as major depressive disorder, major depression impacts nearly 16.2 million U.S. adults, so it’s fairly common. This type of depression doesn’t necessarily have a source, meaning you can have all the friends in the world, a good family and high-paying job, yet you still struggle with negative mental health.
When dealing with major depression, you may becomes gloom, sleep too little or too much, lack energy, lose your appetite, lack concentration or struggle with memory and have constant worrying. Symptoms typically last weeks, but can go on for months, too, so it’s important to talk to someone if you find yourself dealing with some of these issues on a regular basis.
This type of depression typically lasts for two or more years, which is why it’s also called chronic depression. Although this doesn’t always feel as intense as major depression, it can still impact relationships and daily tasks. Some symptoms with persistent depression are similar to the above, with the person having low self-esteem, sadness, changes in sleep patterns and social withdrawal. While these symptoms are more long-term, the severity of them can become less routine for months at a time before worsening out of nowhere.
Manic depression or bipolar disorder
Manic depression, which is also known as bipolar disorder, consists of alternating episodes of happiness and depression. These episodes may last a week, in which you’re very happy and feel as if things are great, and then, in a matter of a week, are back into negative mental health patterns again. This is called the state of being manic.
Symptoms of bipolar disorder are feelings of sadness, lack of energy, sleep problems, lack of concentration, decreased activity and suicidal thoughts. On the flipside, while in a manic state, you’ll experience the complete opposite, having high energy, reduced sleep, racing thoughts or speech, grandiose thinking, risky behavior and feeling of euphoria. There are some cases in which episodes can include hallucination and delusion.
When someone loses touch with reality, this is known as psychosis, which often involve hallucination and delusion. For instance, someone experiencing this type of depression may see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that don’t really exist, like hearing voices or seeing people who aren’t present. People who experience psychosis often find physical problems as well, like trouble sitting still or slowed physical movements.
Typically referred to as seasonal affective disorder and known clinically as major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, this type of depression is related to certain season. For most people, this tends to happen during the colder months of winter, where there’s less sunshine and outdoor activity.
As days begin to get shorter, symptoms typically become noticeable, with the most common being social withdrawal, increased need for sleep, weight gain or sadness and hopelessness.
Seasonal depression may increase as the season progresses, which can even lead to suicidal thoughts. However, as spring rolls around, symptoms tend to improve, which can often be due to changes in your bodily rhythms with the increased natural light.
Clinically known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood, this type of depression’s brought on from specific events that may occur out of the ordinary, causing thoughts of anxiousness, fear of the unknown or hopelessness. Several events that may cause situational depression are things like breakups, death of a loved one, a serious illness, loss of a job, or facing legal trouble. It’s normal to feel sad when something major happens in your life, but when your normal routine begins to be impacted by these events, that’s when it’s time to talk to a professional.
Symptoms to look for include frequent crying, sadness, anxiety, aches and pains, lack of energy, inability to concentrate and social withdrawal.
Although the name itself may sound positive, don’t be fooled, because atypical depression isn’t unusual or rare, and it doesn’t mean that it’s more or less serious than other types of depression.
Someone with atypical depression might not seem depressed to others, yet still show signs of persistent depression like having low self-esteem, sadness, changes in sleep patterns and social withdrawal.
Now that I know how normal depression is and the different types of depression, what can I do to help myself?
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize that experiencing some sort of depression is normal. As mentioned earlier, it impacts nearly all of us, but how we respond can be the major factor in how long it lasts or the overall affect it has on your life.
When dealing with negative mental health issues, always try to identify the root of the problem if possible, which can lead to defining the type of depression you might be experiencing. Are you anxious about work or a breakup? This may be situational depression. Does the cold, wet, rainy weather have you in the dumps and you feel isolated? This is seasonal depression. Regardless of your level of depression, it’s important to contact a professional if symptoms last for weeks or months.
When talking to a doctor, help them identify when you first started noticing these problems, how they impact your daily life and any prescriptions you may take to combat these issues or thoughts.
Remember that depression is serious, and can worsen as different life events occur or seasons come and go. So it’s important to get help if you ever feel thoughts of hopelessness or emptiness, with the 24/7 depression hotline being a free resource for those looking for some guidance.