Here in Massachusetts we pride ourselves on our toughness. We’re Boston Strong. We run marathons for fun. When there’s nine feet of snow surrounding our house we tunnel out of it. That very attitude is what makes us so unique, but it doesn’t mean we’re infallible. We’re all prone to bad days, feelings of stress, and even depression and anxiety too. Sometimes, though, the most difficult part is knowing when stress and bad days give way to something more serious.
Stress has become a catchall word for everything from a bad day to depression. So how can we tell the difference? Stress is our body’s reaction to a perceived threat or danger. Our body releases adrenaline and cortisol, which ready the body to take action. A normal amount of stress can help us to perform better under pressure, motivate us to do our best, and even keep us safe in a potentially dangerous situation. But when it starts to interfere with your life is can lead to mental and/or physical health problems.
Sometimes, your body’s reaction to an overwhelming amount of stress can begin to take the form of anxiety. Other times, what we perceive to be stress can actually be something as serious as depression. It makes sense that we might associate the two, because they share some common symptoms like aches and pains, memory problems, moodiness, irritability and anger, and loss of our sex drive. So, how can you know if you’re dealing with depression?
Take a Screening: Use the two minutes it would take you to check the weather to take a very brief, anonymous screening. It’s educational, and it will help guide you to your next action step.
Do Your Research: Take the time to understand the differences between depression and stress.
Pay Attention: One of the easiest ways to tell if it’s stress or depression is to monitor the symptoms you’ve been feeling and keep track of how long you have been feeling that way. Depression is more serious and longer-lasting than stress, and requires a different kind of help.
I’d like to think that in Massachusetts we’re tough with depression too. We take it seriously when we or someone we know has it, we find a professional to help us feel better and get back on track, and we move through life knowing we that we can handle whatever life, or the seasons bring us.
MassMen.org strives to provide helpful information that empowers men to take action to feel happier and healthier.