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How to Tell the Difference Between Bad Days and Depression

Updated: Jul 30

Everyone has off days from time to time. However, having a string of bad days is different from having depression. It’s important to identify when your experience indicates a mental and behavioral health issue. This way, you can seek treatment and enjoy brighter days ahead.

Just as good and bad days come in waves, depression can look different for everyone. However, depression is more than just a reaction to a struggle or upsetting event. Feelings of depression generally last for extended periods of time and interfere with daily life. This mental health condition can also cause prominent physical symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms of depression:


  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or anxiety

  • Feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness

  • Loss of interest

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Memory challenges

  • Fatigue or restlessness

  • Irritability

  • Insomnia or oversleeping

  • Changes in appetite

  • Physical pains like headaches or cramps

  • Suicidal thoughts


Keep in mind that these are only some of the most common symptoms of depression. Each individual will have a unique set of symptoms, so it’s important to work with a mental health professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis.


It’s also important to note that certain people will have a higher risk of depression, particularly those with a family history of depression. You may also be at higher risk if you’ve experienced trauma or a major change in your life. Medications and physical illnesses can play a role as well.

If you believe that you’re experiencing the symptoms of depression, the next step is to make an appointment with a mental and behavioral health professional. During your first appointment, they will talk through your symptoms with you and perform a psychological assessment. The therapist or psychiatrist will ask you questions about your symptoms, how long you’ve had them, and how often and how frequently they appear. They will also ask you about your family history and lifestyle.


If the assessment reveals that you likely have depression, the mental health professional will recommend treatment. Fortunately, there are many treatment methods to help you manage the symptoms of your depression. You might benefit from individual behavioral therapy for depression, where you can talk one-on-one with a counselor and develop coping mechanisms for your mental health condition. Group counseling can also be effective, allowing you to build community and work through your challenges with others.


Your therapist may refer you to a psychiatric professional if they believe you’ll benefit from medication. A psychiatrist can ensure that you’re taking the right medication for your holistic health needs. Your mental health team will check in with you frequently to ensure that your treatment plan is helping you move forward.


No matter which types of depression symptoms you’re experiencing, remember that you’re not alone. You can control your symptoms and start getting more out of life again by seeking help and following a treatment plan. While depression can come and go, you don’t need to let it define you.


If you’re experiencing the symptoms of depression, the team at The Collective is here to help. Our Denver behavioral health center offers mental health counseling services for a variety of conditions. We focus on the whole person in our approach, helping you thrive mentally, emotionally, and physically. Contact us today to get started.



Does my insurance cover a therapist at The Collective?


The Collective is partnered with several insurance providers to make our services more accessible to you. You can verify your insurance through our website before scheduling an appointment.

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