“It’s 3:30am. You need to get your children on the bus in three and a half hours, and you have a big meeting at work in five. But there you sit on the couch – eating potato chips, drinking a coke and watching the fifth episode of House of Cards in a Row, seemingly glued to the television. You feel almost paralyzed. You can do nothing else but click play and ride the wave of your insomnia.
“Your oldest has been having difficulties at school, you recently put your dog to sleep, and you are having difficulties with your boss. And you managed to take out your frustrations on your spouse, which led to a blow up and your appearance on the couch. But now you can’t seem to leave. You know you are sad, exhausted, mentally taxed, anxious and emotionally overwhelmed.
“But are you depressed?
“‘I think we are all exposed to situations that can trigger a depressive episode,’ says Dr. Kasey Shienvold, Clinical Psychologist and Partner at Riegler, Shienvold & Associates. ‘Loss of a relationship, loss of a loved one, death of someone they care about very much. Anything like that can trigger a depressive episode. There’s a normal adjustment for anybody to a major life transition, but if it’s persistent and lasting for weeks on end, and if it comes with major changes in their personality, that’s a sign. So if they start dropping out of activities that they used to do – if this is somebody that used to volunteer every week and suddenly they stop, or they played sports regularly and suddenly they’re not active anymore – those are some signs that would indicate that there may be something greater going on that needs to be addressed.’”