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  • Writer's pictureTricia Mazza, LPC

Understanding and Normalizing Depression: Recognizing the Signs in Yourself

Depression is a common yet often misunderstood condition that affects millions worldwide. It goes beyond occasional sadness or feeling down; it's a persistent state that can profoundly impact every aspect of one's life. Understanding and normalizing depression is the first step towards healing and helping those around us. Here, we'll explore what depression looks like and how to recognize its signs in yourself or loved ones.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by a pervasive feeling of sadness, loss, or anger that interferes with daily activities. It's important to understand that depression is not a weakness or something one can simply "snap out of." It's a complex condition with various causes, including genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors.

Recognizing the Signs

Depression manifests differently in everyone, but there are common signs to look out for:

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, or "empty" mood

  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, or guilt

  • Changes in appetite or weight

  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or oversleeping)

  • Physical symptoms unexplained by medical conditions (aches, pains, headaches)

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Normalizing Depression

Normalizing depression involves understanding that it's a valid medical condition requiring care and treatment, just like any physical ailment. It's crucial to create an environment where those suffering feel safe to share their experiences and seek help without judgment.

Seeking Help

Acknowledging you might be experiencing depression is a brave first step. It's okay to not be okay, and seeking help is a sign of strength. Start by talking to a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare professional. There are various treatment options available, including therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups, which can be tailored to your specific needs.

Self-Care Strategies

While professional treatment is essential, self-care plays a crucial role in managing depression. Simple practices like maintaining a routine, staying active, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities you enjoy can make a significant difference.


Depression is a widespread condition that touches many lives, yet it remains shrouded in misunderstanding and stigma. By learning about depression and recognizing its signs, we can begin to normalize this condition, encourage open conversations, and take steps towards healing. Remember, you're not alone, and help is available. Let's work together to support one another on the journey towards mental wellness. Contact us at Cohesive Counseling and book an appointment now.

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