Am I melodramatic or depressed?


Am I melodramatic or depressed?


your avatar   Anita (18 year-old woman)

I'm told I'm an intelligent person and I do well in my studies. I've achieved many awards, in particular a bursary to study overseas. I have a supportive network of friends and I feel complete. ON THE OUTSIDE...

On the inside I'm melancholy. I have no interest in anything, I can't be bothered most of the time, I have no hobbies, I'm dropping behind in my studies, I can't sleep and I have a constant sinking feeling in my heart. I've spoken to a counselor, but she said I was being melodramatic and that I don't have clinical depression. The problem is that I have trouble getting up in the morning and I took a QueenDom inventory that claimed I'm severely depressed. What the hell is going on?


    Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, LPC, LISAC, DCC

I guess the first thing I wanted to know when I read your missive is if you have a Managed Health Care Company that takes care of your insurance? These policies are mainly short term and crisis policies that have provide treatment only when someone is severely depressed and only for a limited time period. It might be that this is the issue. It also could be that your particular counselor is missing something and another counselor would agree with you. You certainly have the right to get a second opinion. It is also possible that your depression is not of a clinical nature and that you are overreacting to how you feel.

Melodramatic usually means extremely sensitive and that can happen at any age given the right circumstances or it may be a general personality state. It is also very possible that it might be due to your age. Younger people tend to feel things a bit more passionately and 18 is still very young. I would not look at this as a character flaw but more as a temporary life stage if your counselor is accurate. Given that she is a therapist and probably sees a lot of people with similar problems it would make sense for you to really look at the issue with a fresh eye. However, being a therapist does not make you perfect and she might well be wrong.

Even if it is not clinical depression you are experiencing distress and therefore getting help makes sense. A lot of people do not have even a majority of clinical symptoms and yet go to therapy to work on the subjective feeling of dissatisfaction. If you feel bad then I am sure there is something that is not right and you deserve to be helped. Symptoms always mean something even if it does not mean what the client initially thinks it means. I don't have even a remote clue about what that might be from your email. I would need a lot more information to guess.

If you have taken the depression test and scored highly I would assume you are depressed about something. It is usually very hard to think of moving away from home and starting life on your own. It would be exciting but also scary to go away to school so far away and that might have something to do with it. To have depression be of a clinical nature where medication is necessary is pretty clear however. Look for the following symptoms. Has your sleep pattern changed significantly? Are you getting too much, too little, fitful, or a significant amount of nightmares? Has your appetite changed greatly? Either too much or too little. Are you suffering from feeling greatly agitated or unduly tired? Is there preoccupation? Is there a lack of concentration? Are you feeling suicidal? Is there a lack of excitement that you feel? Is your sex drive exceedingly low? Has your short-term memory become poor lately? How long has this gone on? People often confuse being sad or melancholy with depression. Depression lasts for weeks or months and sadness can be just a few days.

This is how you try and determine if clinical depression is going on and whether medication is needed. However, depression that is not of a clinical nature is also a significant problem and a symptom that something is going wrong. It is deserving of help and can often be a preventative for depression if caught early enough. I would suggest getting a second opinion.

Good luck,

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.For more information visit:


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