What Is Clinical Depression, And What Does It Look Like?

Note: This is a guest post I wrote that previously appeared on Prairie Health’s blog.

As someone who has lived with clinical depression for almost a decade, I’ve learned a lot about what depression is, what it means to me, and how it looks in my day-to-day life. One of the most important things that’s helped me manage my clinical depression is to do research on what it is, why it’s different from other forms of depression, and what that means for me.

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Learning to Find Comfort in Messing Up

I get annoyed at myself a lot. Like, a lot. Multiple times a day. Part of that is my natural inclination after years of experiencing depression and anxiety, but part of it feels like human nature. No one is is happy about every single choice they make. We’re humans and we make mistakes. The problem is, I can hear that a million times, but an aspect of that never sinks in. Failing is extremely uncomfortable to me, and even though I’m discovering why, that doesn’t make it any easier to manage.

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It Sounded Better in My Head

One of the more prominent aspects of my anxiety is my difficulty with conversation. Most of that stems from social anxiety, which (according to the National Institute of Mental Health) is “an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.” Having conversations with others, especially people I don’t know all that well, can make me very nervous. I’m often worried I’ll say the ‘wrong thing’ and ruin a conversation, which is why I often avoid them. The biggest reason I end up in these situations is that I have an unrealistic view that every interaction I have with someone should be ‘perfect’ – which is what I want to talk about today.

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Bringing My Whole Self to Therapy

A few months ago, a big part of my mental health routine was thrown off pretty heavily when I had to abruptly stop seeing my therapist. Since this happened more for administrative reasons than incompatibility, I felt a little disappointed that we couldn’t continue with the progress I felt I was making in the almost year I’d been seeing this therapist. But in the past few months, I’ve been able to connect with a new therapist and start working toward goals of mental wellness and healthiness. It’s been interesting adapting to this new situation, and it’s reminded me of a few things about adapting to changes when you see a new therapist.

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Closing Thoughts During Suicide Prevention Month 2021

I’ve written before that one of the topics I’ve learned most about in the four years I’ve done this blog is suicide prevention. As we reach the end of Suicide Prevention Month, I try to take time to reflect on what I’ve learned this month and how that helps my work in suicide prevention going forward. After my research this month, I’ve been able to connect more dots in regards to suicide prevention. Whether it’s calling attention to mental health or naming the connection between marginalized communities and a higher risk of suicide, I’ve learned that suicide prevention looks like a lot more nuanced than we think.

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Fighting My Instincts Toward Negative Thoughts

I think a lot about instincts. Whether it’s the instinct to think something or feel something, I’m pretty fascinated by the concept of instantly having a thought or feeling throughout my body because of something I’ve experienced. Unfortunately, people who experience mental illness can often have natural instincts that create negative thoughts or feeling, which can be very frustrating. It’s difficult to live in a world where every instinctual thought about yourself is negative, but that’s the reality for many people who experience depression.

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A Chance for Reflection: Sharing My Journey With Depression

I can’t underestimate how much I enjoy talking about mental health. It’s one of the few times in my life where I feel free, my brain isn’t going a hundred miles per hour and I’m able to speak honestly on a topic I feel comfortable talking about. A few weeks ago, I accepted a chance to be a guest on a mental health podcast and talk about my journey with depression, which is something I’d never done before. The experience taught me not only about the importance of sharing my story, but the growth I’ve experienced in my mental health journey.

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Focusing on What’s Effective for Mental Wellness

When I write about mental health, I often use the word effective to talk about a certain technique or method that I’m researching or using. I’ve started to use this word more and more in the past few years, and it’s become one of the biggest ways I’ve measured mental wellness and how I manage mental health challenges. By putting a focus on how effective things are, I’ve been able to prioritize my mental health in a way I hadn’t been able to do before. Here’s why that’s important.

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Suicide Prevention Looks Like More Than You Think

TW: This post discusses suicide and suicide prevention.

In looking at what I wrote last year during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I found a lot of useful information in my posts. But as it often happens, I’ve learned a few things in the past year that have helped form new opinions and improve the way I view different aspects of mental health and wellness. And while it’s always useful to share resources and information (such as this post of mine from last year which does just that), I thought I’d share another insight into suicide prevention that isn’t discussed as often.

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Why I Always Make Room for Mental Health Improvement

Over the years, I’ve learned a number of methods and techniques to manage my depression and anxiety. Some of those have worked very well (meditation and talk therapy), while others haven’t been as effective (I’m hoping to come back to journaling one day, but it’s not soon). Either way, I’ve learned a lot about what’s helpful for me on my mental health journey, and used those lessons to continue building my mental health toolkit and growing more certain in how I manage mental health. But as I’ve learned recently, there’s always space to find more ways and improve that relationship with mental health, which is what I want to talk about today.

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