Are There Different Levels of Depression?
It’s a very interesting and intriguing question. Depression is such a hard thing to define by itself because there really are different types and varying degrees of how bad and how long depression can last.
Depression is one part of the equation that is Bipolar One disorder. It can be hard to define the different levels of depression within my own mental illness. The important question posed by a fellow blogger for this post was this. Is there was a difference between Bipolar depression and a diagnosis of severe depression? Basically are there varying levels of depression. It’s an interesting concept to consider. If someone has severe depression and then has a single mania episode it can change their diagnosis.
For my own work here on The Bipolar Writer, and in my memoir, I write from experience. I thought it was the perfect time to define the varying levels of depression associated with the Bipolar disorder. At the same time, it would be good to look at different depression diagnosis and the levels that each come with, at least the ones I have had in my own life. Depression can be so different for each person in the mental illness community so what you read hear is tailored the experience of one, The Bipolar Writer.
*DISCLAIMER* I am not a mental health expert. I talk from the position of experience only.
What are the Different Types of Depression?
It might be surprising that there are in fact many types of depression diagnosed by mental health professionals. Here is what I have found online. I can’t define what I have not lived through, but I will define the differences in what I do know. My blog posts always come from the position of experience. I will list first the most common according to my online research.
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Depression
- Postpartum Depression
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Atypical Depression
Is There is Difference?
The short answer is most definitely YES, there are differences between the types of depression. I can only explain the differences from my own experience. I would love for people within the blogger community that suffer from any of these (or those not listed) to help define the types of depression which I have not experienced.
My diagnosis has changed over the years. The changes came from more information given by me, at different times in my life. In my very early twenties, my diagnosis was Major Depressive Disorder.This was around 2006 to October 2007. From what I remember this means your depressed most of the time during a week. This diagnosis is usually given when the depression lasts longer than two weeks.
The subset of MDD is Persistent Depressive Disorder. This usually comes when a diagnosis of depression is longer than two years. It was never my diagnosis, though I have had “depression cycles” that have lasted more than two years. By then I was Bipolar. My depression “levels” when I was diagnosed with MDD were manageable with medication. They never hit the extreme levels that Bipolar Depression does (at least in my experience) until they finally did. It eventually became a diagnosis of Bipolar One.
Bipolar Depression is always at the “extreme” levels. The highs and lows are always a swinging pendulum of extreme depression and mania. In my personal experience, I became “Bipolar” because of my crazy mood swings into depression was very extreme. I was constantly suicidal and always on edge. I started to self-harm, but it was the fact that I had manic episodes that changed my diagnosis.
*I wanted to make a small note that after my first suicide attempt, and because I was experiencing psychosis in the ER, my original diagnosis for about a week was the schizoaffective disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is another type of depression that I have experienced. In fact, my official diagnosis as of today is Bipolar One Disorder with psychosis and a seasonal element. For me, my SAD is specific to the months of November to about March. This year has been the first year that it ended in January for me, which is through perseverance and a lot of writing. Some people only experience SAD because of a specific time of year. It’s an interesting thing to say during this months my depression gets bad considering some of my depression cycles have lasted for years.
But, I can see major shifts in my depression during my SAD months. That is the difference in my Bipolar Depression and my SAD. These months are always the worst for me. Even with the extreme lows, I feel with my Bipolar Depression it can get more extreme for me during my “worst months.” I can tell the difference because of my experiences.
I have explained the differences in the types of depression that I have experienced over the years. The rest of the list isn’t my area of expertise. Each type of depression has their elements in why medical experts separate the types from one another.
For those that follow my blog and have experience in the other types of depression. It would be nice to explore them further through your own experiences.
My Final Thoughts on Differing Levels of Depression
This blog post started out with the question from a fellow blogger. Is there was a difference between Bipolar depression and a diagnosis of severe depression? There are differences between the types of depression and their levels. It is impossible in my mind to say that one type has a more serious level. Depression is bad on any level. The differences seem to be in the extremeness and the length.
With that said, all depression can be treatable. I always like to leave a post such as this one piece of what I think is good advice, always seek help. Depression can be a dangerous thing. I have talked so many times about my experiences of depression leading to suicide. It happened three times in my life. It is important because depression can get worse over time if left untreated. But, with the right help, you can fight it. I have in my own life when I thought it an impossible task.
As always. Always Keep Fighting.