Valentine Blues: Warning Sign?

Valentine's Day can be upsetting for many single people. But if you're feeling unusually sad, it may be a warning sign of a bigger problem, according to one expert.

Dr. Joy Browne, a clinical psychologist and author of "Dating Disasters," tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler that lovesickness can be very real.

If you're sad because you don't have a date, it probably doesn't mean you're clinically depressed, she says. "You know, tomorrow will be the day after Valentine's Day, so you'll be OK.

"You should also remind yourself that, even for many couples who are happy, Valentine's Day is sort of Armageddon because, if you're in a relationship, no matter what he does or you do, it's probably not going to be enough. 'I got the candy and the flowers, but what about the card?' So it's one of those things that's very hard to come out looking good. And if you've been in a bit of a relationship and you've dodged the Christmas/New Year's 'should we get engaged?' thing, it's now Valentine's Day. Even for people who are in a good relationship, this could be a tricky day."

But extreme sadness could point to much more serious conditions, such as manias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and clinical depression, Browne points out.

So how can you tell the difference between run-of-the-mill sadness, because you don't have a date, and serious depression that requires medical attention?

"People often confuse the two verbally as well as in their heads," Browne points out. "If you've been feeling like nothing you do works out OK, your life isn't working at all, you're not sleeping well and you're eating too much or not enough, you put on a lot of weight or taken a lot off, and it's been going to for more than a couple of weeks, get some help, because it's not just going to clear.

"But if you feel, 'Woe is me, I don't have a date,' it's probably just the Valentine's Day blues.

Last week, a study was published saying broken heart syndrome is real, with people having physical symptoms related to some intense, emotional trauma. Browne says that's not at all surprising: "We've known for probably 30 years that stress, even good stress, can cause somatic symptoms. Head and body are not two separate systems.

"On Valentine's Day," she adds, "the feeling that, unless you're in a relationship, your life isn't working -- that's a sickness. The notion of feeling upset when a relationship breaks up or isn't going well is perfectly normal."

Browne says her main Valentine's Day message is to figure out what you can do to make yourself feel whole and wonderful, as opposed to making it depend on someone else.
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