5 Questions You Need to Be Asking About Your Depression

John McManamy | May 14th 2015

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We know when we are depressed. But no two depressions are the same. For instance, three of the nine DSM symptoms for major depression are presented as binary opposites, including: “insomnia or hypersomnia,” “decrease or increase in appetite,” and “psychomotor agitation or retardation.” In gaining further insight into our depression, we may want to carry this type of binary inquiry further.Ask yourself …

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Vegetative or agitated?

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No energy, no motivation, just want to curl up into a ball?

Or is it the opposite?

A feeling of being in neutral, but with your internal motor running out of control?

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Too much emotion or too little?

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Sad? Guilty? Angry?

Or is it the opposite?

Feelings don’t register. You don’t care. You feel emotionally numb.

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Too much mental activity or two little?

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Destructive thoughts? Over-anxious? Over-sensitive to your surroundings?

Or is it the opposite …

Even routine mental tasks are impossible. Your surroundings barely exist.

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Physically wound-up or wound-down?

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Pacing about and not able to sleep?

Or is it the opposite?

Dragging your feet and unable to get started?

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Behavior: Under-engaged or over?

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Unable to engage in routine tasks? Overly cautious?

Or is it the opposite?

Engaging inappropriately in routine tasks? Reckless?

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Why this is important

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Different emotional, cognitive, physical, and emotional states suggest different treatments and therapies and coping skills. It may be called “depression,” but there is considerable room for variation.

There are no pat answers, no easy categories. Nevertheless, recovery begins with “knowing thyself.” Never be afraid to ask questions.