When to Seek Help with Depression?

woman feel depressed

How is depression different from sadness?

Everyone feels sad, empty, or lonely at times. These are normal healthy emotions to experience. They tell us when we are experiencing pain, disappointment, or loss…etc., and encourage us to slow down. Emotions like sadness tend to be short-lived feelings that come and go.

Depression is a mood, or more persistent state of mind that has significant mindbody effects. Commonly we let go of the emotional content with regards to the mood of depression as sadness or melancholy, but it also can be represented by a sense of emptiness, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, or irritability.

When thinking about the difference between mood and emotion, it can be helpful to think about the difference between climate and weather. Portland’s climate is marked with warm and dry summers and cool, rainy winters, yet the winter can have sunny days (on occasion) and the summer can have cold or rainy days. Depression is a mood state, and emotions like joy, anger, or sadness can ebb and flow, but in general the sad, empty, or agitated mood persists for most of the day, most days of the week. If this mood has been persistent for two weeks, it may be depression.

Depression does not just change mood, but presents other challenges within the mindbody. Changes in thinking may include a sense of feeling dull, problems with decision making, problems with concentration, challenges with memory, excessive guilt, hyper-focusing on the negative, dismissing positives, or suicidal ideations. Physical changes can include fatigue, exhaustion, loss of appetite, excessive appetite, and unintentional weight changes. Behavioral and emotional changes can include changes in sleep (insomnia or hypersomnia), loss of interest in normal activities, loss of pleasure in activities, feeling disconnected from others, isolation, sense of hopelessness, or desire to be dead or no longer exist.

What causes depression?

One of the things that make depression so challenging is that there is no singular cause. Many people who experience depression feel like it’s “their fault” and that is not the case. Common factors which can contribute to the development of depression include genetics, changes in brain/body chemistry, bodily injury, changes in psychological coping mechanisms, problems in social environments, environmental factors, and trauma.

When is it time to seek help?

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as you are experiencing some of the common symptoms of depression, particularly if you are experiencing them for two weeks or more. One of the most common feelings of depression is hopelessness, a feeling that there is no way forward, which can often be a barrier to seeking treatment. Treatment and counseling can get you past that.

Can depression be treated?

Yes, Depression is highly treatable. In fact, with professional help, you can feel better sooner. Depression is not a sign of weakness, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Therapy focuses on factors that contribute to depression, changing mindbody reactions, implementing health behaviors, and increasing feelings of wellness and empowerment. You will develop tools you can use for the rest of your life.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,