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Life Lessons: Signs of Depression

Published On: Apr 29 2013 05:00:00 AM EDT

How do you know when you're just feeling down and when it's something more serious?

We all get the blues from time to time but how do you know when you're just feeling down and when it's something more serious?

There's no blood test to diagnose depression but experts say there is a major difference between just feeling down and depression.

They say people with depression are gripped by a day-to-day struggle that can be very difficult to break out of.


Susan Fox is one of those people. These days she looks at changes and difficulties in her life as the opening of a window instead of the closing of a door.

Susan, who owns the Core Center, a Pilates studio in Easton, has battled depression for 14 years.

At the worst, Susan says she didn't even want to get out of bed.

"I couldn't find joy in anything. The smallest of things or the grandest of things, there was no joy there," she recalls.

Susan says she actually had physical symptoms.

"There's a physical change that happens. When you're sad, you're just sad for that moment for me anyway.  My arms ached. My chest ached."

Susan realized she needed help and turned to Bethlehem counselor Jennifer Perreault.

That was a year ago. Perreault says Susan is better now, but it wasn't an easy road.

"Susan was willing to do the work. She came to me at a time when she was at the bottom. She said, 'I can't do this anymore,'" says Perreault.

After a combination of medication and therapy, Susan is doing well now. She hopes to raise awareness about depression.

" I don't think I'll ever be cured of depression. It's something I always deal with and I know how to deal with it now and that's the really important thing."

Perreault adds, " I want people to know that it's not their fault. So many people who don't have depression look at others and say, 'let's get going.' They can't change it."

Studies show rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men.

But of course, anyone can develop depression at at age and stage of life.

Perreault says if you or someone you know is depressed and experiencing suicidal thoughts, you should go to your nearest emergency room or dial 9-1-1.

You can also contact the Lehigh County Crisis Intervention office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (610) 782-3127.

In Northampton County, call (610) 252-9060.