Depression eats away at your soul until you are merely a bleak version of what you once were. Nothing in your life is right. You are definitely not happy. And any interest that you have had in your life is slipping away like sand through your fingers. This is the reality of depression.
Sadly, many people do not see this as a serious issue and believe that a depressed person can just snap out of it. Let me make it clear, they can’t.
So when they don’t, blaming them for the way that they are acting isn’t helpful at all. In fact, it makes them feel guilty. As a result, they go further down the spiral of depression.
The truth is that most people don’t know anything about mental illnesses such as depression. Thus, understanding the nature and symptoms of depression is of vital importance.
Symptoms of depression
#1. Seems to be in a depressed mood nearly all the time
Sadness is a natural emotion but not when it is persistent and will not go away. If you are sad almost all the time then you have a problem.
Don’t get me wrong; let’s say someone you love dearly died. Then it is normal to be sad for a few weeks or even a few months. But, with time the pain and sadness should diminish. You should be able to live a normal life; a life in which sadness is not your default state of being.
In contrast, people in depression find it difficult to be happy even when something good is happening in their life. You will be able to look at their face and see that they are sad.
Some people make the grave mistake of thinking “he is not sad – that is just how he is”. Never make the mistake of accepting sadness as a personality trait. It is a serious mental disorder. He can claim that he is happy but if he always looks unhappy he could still be suffering from depression.
#2. Loss of interests
Sometimes depression doesn’t manifest itself as sadness. Instead, it manifests as a lack of interest. If there is nothing in the world that would excite you then this could be a major sign of depression. In these cases, there is nothing you would like to do; nothing excites you anymore.
Note: either symptom 1 or 2 is a must to be diagnosed with depression. You could have all the other symptoms but if you don’t have symptoms one or two then you are not depressed. But that does not mean you are mentally healthy. You could be suffering from some other mental issue.
#3. Changes in appetite
Change in appetite is also a symptom of depression. This goes both ways; you could be overeating or feel no urge to eat. In other words, both an increase in appetite as well as a decrease in appetite can be a symptom of depression.
#4. Significant weight loss or weight gain
This symptom is usually connected to symptom number 3. If you lose your appetite you are most likely to lose weight. If your appetite increases then you are most likely to overeat and gain weight.
#5. Changes in sleeping patterns
Like the previous point, over-sleeping, as well as lack of sleep, are both signs of depression. You could be up all night unable to go to sleep or find yourself oversleeping. In the second scenario, you will be unable to get out of bed. Even when you are up you might feel the urge to just slip under the covers and go to sleep.
#6. Psychomotor Agitation or retardation
Psychomotor agitation refers to agitated emotional and physical activity. what happens when you get agitated? You may start to pace around being unable to stay in one place; your hands may start shaking, and your words may become jumbled. As for psychomotor retardation, your thoughts, reactions, and movements start to slow down.
To be diagnosed with depression these should be constant and not something that happens once in a while. Furthermore, this needs to be observable by others and not just how you feel inside.
#7. Loss of energy and fatigue
Does walking the smallest distance make you tired? This is a symptom of depression. You find yourself always exhausted even when you didn’t do much work. Feeling like you don’t have the energy to do the simplest of things and wondering what on earth made you this tired is common for people with depression.
#8. Constant feelings of worthlessness or guilt
Feeling that you are not enough and not worthy of all that you have is one of the symptoms of depression. You may even feel guilty about having the job you have (for example) because you feel that you do not deserve it. Calling yourself stupid, idiot or any other degrading term is a common occurrence in your life.
If you find yourself unable to make a decision then you are indecisive. Sometimes it manifests as not knowing what you should pick. Otherwise, no matter what you choose you end up changing your decision many times. Making a decision is tough for you.
#10. Difficulty to think and concentrate
Do the simplest sounds bother you? A coworker silently humming a tune or tapping the desk with a pencil makes it difficult for you to do your work. This means you have difficulty to think and concentrate.
The world is not a quiet place. We have the ability to tune something out and focus on what we are doing. When you have depression you lose that ability and the smallest things start to bother you.
#11. Recurrent thoughts of death
People with depression often find themselves thinking about death. This may be suicidal thoughts with or without a plan. You may attempt to commit suicide. This is the most serious outcome that can happen if depression is not treated properly. This is exactly why we need to take it seriously and not brush it off hoping that it will just go away.
Consequences of Depression
Sometimes, depression symptoms become serious enough to hinder the normal function of your life. Then it starts affecting important areas such as your relationships, occupation, etc.
You may find yourself Home Alone not wanting to socialize.
Depression can also damage important relationships. You might end up divorced or lose the connection you had with your friends and family.
Sometimes you might even give up on your job or worse lose it due to poor performance.
Finally, let’s not forget the risk of suicide.
It is clear that depression is a serious issue. If not taken seriously it will have severe consequences. So if you are showing signs of depression for longer than 2 weeks it is best to get some professional help.
Sometimes only medication is not enough to cure depression. Depression is more than a chemical imbalance in your brain. It is a result of unhealthy thinking patterns and Lifestyle choices. Unless these things change, depression will reappear when medication is reduced or stopped. Do not underestimate the importance of counseling.
Information here is for educational purposes and is in no way a substitute for an expert / professional opinion.
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