Do You Have Major Depressive Disorder or Persistent Depressive Disorder?

Photo by Emma Trevisan on Unsplash

It started with a Yahoo article. It was the headline that caught my attention. “High-functioning depression.” I thought, was this just another version of trying to separately label mental disorders, like Asperger’s and Autism? Or was this a legitimate thing?

Deciding curiosity won over, I read the article. Within a paragraph, I realized it wasn’t just legitimate, it was me. A while back, when I was getting an assessment done for bariatric surgery, my therapist outright stated I had Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD). We had only just met, and already I was getting labeled.

However, that was all he pointed out, that I had PDD. I didn’t know what it meant. I wasn’t given some pamphlets to read or told to go Google something when I got home. When the assessment was over and I was given the “okay”, I didn’t think about it again.

My assessment was in late December of 2019.

When I read that article, I gave a start and realized this is what my therapist meant. He saw through the mask I wore when I socialized with people, and saw the feelings I hid underneath. It suddenly clicked… because I had been feeling like this perhaps my entire life.

What feelings? Feelings of emptiness, of worthlessness, of persistent sadness, lack of motivation, guilt, disinterest. Oh, I’d have brief flashes of interest and motivation, but they never lasted more than a couple of hours. Rest of the time? It took effort to get out of bed each morning, to actually give a damn about my life. If it weren’t for my son and my cats, I might not get up at all.

It’s incredibly similar to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The only difference? Years. PDD can last years. MDD will last less than two. Once it’s past two years, the diagnosis changes to PDD.

It baffles and frustrates me that I’ve dealt with a number of therapists and not a single one, until late last year mentioned these to me at all. Not to mention, how to treat or deal with it. How to enjoy life again, to not struggle against myself to not feel so empty.

I’ve mentioned in the past to friends, mainly on social media posts, that it felt like I was fighting a war against myself. I now see that it’s true. The sad thing is, no one will ever see the pain and effort it takes people like myself to get up each day and live. Because we’re not really moving… we’re in tears, bleeding inwardly, while the world sees us smiling and laughing, pretending we’re alive.

If you feel any similarity to what I’ve written here, and think “Oh wow, yeah, that’s me!” Go talk to your therapist. It’s okay. You’re not alone. There are likely millions of us who think this may be entirely normal.

It’s not.

Take a look at this article at Headspace and contact some help.




Owned by four cats. Wanna-be writer. Currently living in the Midwest of the United States of America.

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Esther Olson

Esther Olson

Owned by four cats. Wanna-be writer. Currently living in the Midwest of the United States of America.

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