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Not all depression is depression

If you tell someone that you’re feeling depressed, they’ll no doubt understand what you’re talking about. Feeling empty, sad, down-in-the-dumps, worthless, or just plain blah is often commonly experienced with depression. The dictionary generically defines depression as a “pressing down,” which is precisely what the emotions associated with depression feel like—a weight on your shoulders, an overwhelming feeling of dread and hopelessness that presses down on you, making life difficult if not impossible. The reason everyone understands what depression feels like is because we’ve all, at one time or another, felt depressed. Feeling depressed is often a normal, albeit difficult, part of being human in a world of struggles, setbacks, and loss. However, the depression we feel when pressed down in response to challenging life circumstances is quite different from what is commonly referred to as clinical or major depression.

In this Self-Coaching episode, I discuss how to differentiate between clinical depression and what I call “circumstantial” depression. Although there can be some confusion when trying to differentiate one from the other, especially when there is an overlap between these depressions, typically, a person suffering from a circumstantial, non-clinical depression (not insecurity-driven) will eventually regain normal functioning as stressful life circumstances abate. The person with clinical depression will sustain a depression because the cause, insecurity, continues to fuel it.

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