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To answer the first part of your first question, of how long does a usual bout of depression last? According to scientific studies the length of the depression is actually dependent on whether they got treatment. People who refuse treatment tend to stay depressed the longest. Those who just take an anti-depressant find themselves less depressed sooner. The group with the shortest bout of depression incorporated both weekly therapy and medication.
The second part of your first question had to do with how do you know when your depression has distorted your judgement, particularly when you are making a reasonable assessment of a situation in your life, presumably an important decision? The rule I use is simple. People who are depressed are very conservative and pessimistic in their judgements. They tend to blame themselves because one model of depression is anger turned inward. So if you find yourself only viewing this situation in terms of its negative side. You know that you are able to assess the problem fully when there is an optimistic side to the possible conclusions.
Next you pointed out that your family is not supporting your own decisions because they claim you are depressed. If I was you I would counter their accusations by saying that you are not being pessimistic in your conclusions. Or you could take them seriously and not rely on their support until you have convinced them you are over your depression and thinking clearly. Or you could go on with your assessment of the situation without their support. Your last option is to agree with your support system, get some help and stick it out till they notice. Often it is your support system who first notice when an anti-depressant is first working.
Your questioning of your abilities is a result of depression but more likely a result of low self esteem. Low self esteem differs from depression in that it is not a feeling but a value judgement you impose on yourself. It can be corrected using positive motivation and imagery. It is a simple technique you use while you are going to sleep and when ever you find yourself in thought loops of negative self esteem. I can explain it further if you would like but it entails thinking of your accomplishments and things you can accomplish. This sets the tone of your day as well as promoting positive dreams.
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I would recommend individual therapy with a therapist skilled in treating depression.
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