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Am I Depressed?

Question:

Hi, I am an 18 year old, and for the longest time, I have been feeling sad, angry, hopeless. I feel like a failure and I have basically isolated myself from the world. Generally I am under a cloud, and I am rarely happy. I try to keep myself busy so that I won’t have time to think about everything else. However, the smallest thing seems to trigger my mood swings, and I either burst into tears, or scream like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t know what’s wrong with me and that is even more frustrating. I think I may be suffering from depression, but when I told my folks that, they thought I was being paranoid. So I’m not sure about what to do. Do you think I could be suffering from depression? And to provide more information, I have attempted suicide before, by taking pills, and I’ve been a wrist cutter. Also, I often get a "sinking feeling"…it seems like my heart is sinking and I feel the most intense sadness ever. It brings depressing thoughts into my mind…like killing myself. So, I usually go to sleep or stay in bed. And my sleeping pattern has changed too. I usually can’t sleep a continuous 8 hour sleep. I wake up in the middle and I’m tired even after waking up. So please help me. Do i have depression? Should I be getting treated?

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Answer:

The answers to your two last questions are YES, you have depression and you should be getting treated. You know the old joke about "if it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck…then it’s a duck. In other words, you are describing all the classic symptoms of depression:

Symptoms of Depression

1. Sadness
2. Loss of Sleep
3. Suicidal Thoughts
4. Suicidal Attempts
5. Tearfullness
6. Feeling Angry
7. Thinking that your are a Failure
8. Self Harm: Wrist Cutting

I do not know why your parents have any doubts about your having depression unless they, like many people, are just not informed about this illness.

You need treatment and as quickly as possible. As you have experienced with your depression, there is the danger of suicide. I guess it is possible that you attempted suicide without your parents even knowing. Of course, self cutters often try to hide their injuries because they do not want anyone to know.

It is important that you enter treatment immediately so that you get relief from your suffering and can start to experience real happiness in your life. You are very young and have a right to a good life.

Best of Luck

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