Such broad topics and such fine lines of distinction. What is going on with you?

It’s hard to untangle what is going on AND it is imperative, because you don’t feel good.

Defining exactly what is going on is necessary in order to plot a path toward relief. Professional consultation is a good next step. A consultation does not commit you to anything, it only gives you more information. It can help you decide what is right for you.

In the mean time, you feel bad. You are not your self. Life has become harder and you may have less and less ability to function the way you used to. Your friends and family may wonder what is wrong with you as you have become more irritable, withdrawn, self-critical, self-doubting or easily wounded by what someone says or does.

Maybe you have started drinking more or participating in aggressive or destructive behaviors such as addictive or compulsive activities. You may find your mind ruminating on a particular thought or not able to turn off your worries even when you sleep. You may be afraid you are dying or become preoccupied with thinking about death or suicide. Or maybe the anxiety is so intolerable you feel like jumping out of your skin.

Many people feel dead or numb when they are depressed. It can physically hurt; as though you are carrying an extra 100 pounds on your shoulders. Everything is less enjoyable and it may be difficult to even concentrate or remember. Maybe your stomach hurts all the time, or you are more prone to accidents, or you have ongoing aches and pains.

These are just a few of the symptoms that can suggest a form of depression or bipolar. In any event, it is like being in prison with seemingly no way out.

The good news is that there are many ways to get out of this emotional and physical jail. You do not have to endure. You do not have to suffer needlessly. You do not have to be a hero or a martyr.

There is no pride that is gained or strong character formed from walking around on a broken leg or refusing medical help when you are having a heart attack. The same is true for depression. It is serious. It is common. And, it is life-threatening.

Depression affects not only you, but also your family and your friends. There is a price to pay for trying to “push through” and delay help. Depression causes a path of destruction. The hurtful remarks; the emotional withdrawal from a child; the lost time; the broken relationships. At its worst, depression resulting in suicide will devast your loved ones and leave a legacy of destruction for them that you can’t even begin to imagine.

The current thought is that depression, anxiety, and some bipolar symptoms involve interactions between psychological factors, genetic vulnerability, stress, and your particular neurobiological functioning. Many, many factors will affect the above noted interactions. This is why getting help to define the problem is the first step.

Depression, anxiety, or bipolar symptoms have nothing to do with you being incompetent, weak, or morally insolvent. It is treatable.

If you are dealing with depression, unmanageable anxiety or bipolar. Call for a consultation. You do not have to do this alone.

Jackie Bay