Depression or circumstances?

How do you tell the difference between mental illness and a normal reaction to stress? I've never had problems sleeping, I never used to cry, and I always loved my hobbies. Now I can't sleep regularly, I'm occasionally crying spontaneously, and nothing holds my interest for long. The thing is, I've had financial problems, my wife is sick, my career plans are falling through left and right, and I'm working nights trying to scrape by. Things have been hard before but this is the first time I've felt like I'm losing control.

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  • The difference is in how long the symptoms have been going on. I've heard anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. The problem I believe is that everyone is different. I've never heard of a man crying spontaneously. That one gets my attention along with the other things you listed. They all are significant and unless you see a change coming very soon, you probably should get a check up with your GP or internist to rule out any other problem besides depression. I don't think you should ignore your symptoms any longer. You probably knew that when you sat down to write this question. Good catch.

  • You are under tremendous stress. What is important is that you realize you need some help. The effects of stress should not be minimized. Sometimes our coping strategies need to change as the years pass. When former methods for handling stress aren't effective and you feel like you're "losing control" it's probably a sign you need to seek professional advice. The goal is to not lose control. Talking to a therapist might help decrease some of the burden you're feeling right now.

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