I think there is still much confusion between depression(normal mood) and major depression and so I thought I would share my thoughts on how I distinguish one from the other. How I distinguish normal moods from major depression:
- Normal moods usually last a fairly short time and are less severe– often less than a day. Major depression is a moderate to severe depressed mood for at minimum two weeks. Moderate to severe often means thinking about suicide quite a bit.
- With a normal mood one can often tie it to something that has happened or a given thought
- The mood within major depression is often connected to the circadian rhythms. Often people feel worse in the morning(often suicidal) and their mood improves in the evening
- Distraction will often work with normal moods but not with major depression
- The depressed mood in major depression is often accompanied with severe fatigue(bedridden), lack of motivation, disrupted appetite, lack of pleasure, cognitive problems, and excessive sleepiness/insomnia
- Major depression affects your ability to function on a basic level. Good hygiene seems optional for people who normal have good hygiene
Antipsychiatrists who could be referred to as “lumpers” don’t make the above distinctions. They believe everyone experiences depression which is true but not everyone experiences moderate to severe depression that lasts more than two weeks and is accompanied by other symptoms. They also argue that the criteria that distinguish major depression are arbitrary which is also true but many distinctions in life are to a degree arbitrary and yet are still respected. I , a “splitter”, sometimes wish that they would come up with a new name for major depression so it wouldn’t constantly be confused with a normal low mood.