Stress vs depression

Have you ever gotten into the shower and then realized you were still wearing your slippers? What about putting return address labels where the stamps are supposed to go? Do you keep going to the store to get milk only to find cartons of milk in the cupboard?

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Stress rears its ugly head in many different forms. I’m usually an organized person. Not in my home, which I fondly refer to as organized chaos, but with getting things done. And I do that by writing everything down. I have notebooks small and large scattered throughout my house full of to-do lists.

In contrast, when I’m in a depressive state of not wanting to get out of bed, writing anything down seems like too much work. When I’m stressed, I want to write things down, but it take ages to find any of those random notebooks to write in. By the time I’ve found it, I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write down.

How can you tell if you’re stressed or depressed? What if you’re both? The truth is, you can’t until you’ve either relieved the stress in your life or diagnosed the depression. Of course, people experiencing stress can experience episodes of depression and those dealing with depression can certainly feel stressed. Where does one end and the other one start?

The biggest difference between the two is that, typically, stress results in heightened activity while depression can clearly be diagnosed with lack of activity in things you used to enjoy. Life can be especially difficult when you’re dealing with both, as one part of your body is experiencing the ‘fight or flight’ syndrome while the other part of your body couldn’t care less.

Stress is supposed to be temporary and can be good or bad. Usually changing your lifestyle will alleviate it. Depression, on the other hand, is best dealt with through a combination of counselling and natural or prescribed medications. While some people do experience episodes of depression, those diagnosed with chronic depression (such as myself), can also experience major depressive episodes which can go on for weeks, months or even years. This then causes stress.

In my life currently, I’m dealing with big doses of both and it’s sometimes difficult to separate the two. It can sometimes take me months to get around to doing something, such as finding the right part to attach my kitchen sink to the portable dishwasher a friend gave me = Depression. On the flip side, one of the first things written down in my to-do list is to research what type of part I need, where I can get it and how much it will cost = Stress.

Have you ever experienced stress and depression at the same time? How did you cope? Do you identify more with depression or stress?


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