More people are becoming aware of mental illnesses and the importance of mental health nowadays. It’s no longer a trifling matter as a growing abundance of research enlightens society about the issue. While there are many kinds of mental illnesses, one of the most common ones is depression.
The fact that people are becoming acquainted with depression is a massive leap from when it was perceived to be an imaginary sickness. Not long ago, people who might have been exhibiting symptoms of depression were told to simply “suck it up.” These days, more individuals know how their choices of words could be hurtful and harmful to mental health.
However, society’s average knowledge about depression is still lacking. Viewed under the scope of psychiatry, there are plenty of ins and outs, details, and layers to depression, some of which are unknown or not apparent to the average person. Therefore, much care is necessary when talking or spreading information about mental health. This also goes for self-diagnosis and diagnosing others, both of which are harmful.
There are several signs of depression that are easy to spot, and some are more covert to the untrained eye. Spotting these will help anyone be more sensitive about their behaviors and the behaviors of the people around them. It can also allow you to decide whether you need to go to professionals for depression treatment San Diego, for example, for help.
For the sake of correct treatment, it’s essential to repeat that self-diagnosis should never be done, even if you exhibit all of the signs. Professional help is available, and getting the proper diagnosis will allow you to get the correct treatment to help you cope and deal with what you are going through.
With that being said, here are the indicators of depression that are also green lights for you to see a mental health professional.
You’re Perpetually Down
Feeling sad from time to time is a normal human emotion. You might feel blue about certain events in your life, like losing a loved one, getting discharged from a job, heartbreaks, or troubles in your family and personal relationships. Getting down about certain things is a normal reaction. However, if you find yourself continually sad, regardless of whether an event caused the negative emotion, then this could indicate depression.
The feeling of sadness might be persistent and could have been with you your entire life. Perhaps you think this is normal because you’ve had to feel it for most of your life. But it isn’t normal at all. If it’s chronic, it could be a symptom of depression.
Having A Pessimistic and Hopeless Outlook
When you’re depressed, your mind can trick you into thinking that everything is hopeless. You might start believing that there is no way for you to get better or that you’ll be in that dismal state of mind forever.
Pay attention to your word choices and try to notice how many times you use negative words or superlatives like “never,” or “worst.” This hopeless outlook is another reason why many people who suffer from depression don’t want help. They believe that even professional help won’t make a difference, which is definitely far from the truth.
Feelings Of Worthlessness, Helplessness, And Guilt
There’s a lot of negative feelings that come with depression. It’s more complex than simply feeling sad. There’s a lot of self-blaming that happens, and it makes a lot of sense when you’re going through the tunnel vision of depression. To other people, they might not understand where this self-loathing is coming from, but that’s precisely why depression is a mental illness. It makes you believe certain things that aren’t objectively true.
It’s possible to think that things are going wrong because you are worthless, making you feel guilty and helpless. Again, this latches on to the idea that it’s hopeless, and it won’t get better because you are the problem. This thought gets in the way of functioning correctly, like being unable to complete tasks or sticking to routines.
When this happens, you feel guilty and start blaming yourself again. When you notice this cycle, it’s easy to feel helpless and just surrender yourself to the idea that you’ll never do anything right. Hence, you would want to escape, perhaps through self-harm, excessive sleeping, or worse, suicide.
When this happens, words like “buck up” or “get over it” won’t help. Understanding, patience, and listening go a long way. But therapy and professional help will also be necessary to be able to deal with it effectively.
Feeling Tired All the Time
Like sadness, feeling tired is normal, especially if you exert yourself through exercise, workouts, and other activities. But there are cases in which a person just feels fatigued even after resting.
Many individuals who suffer from depression could go through days of just sleeping excessively. After getting hours of sleep, they still feel so tired that they scarcely get out of bed. Some say that it’s a means of escape or to numb out their sadness when they are awake. On the other hand, some just feel disheartened to go about their daily lives. This can get in the way of work and other responsibilities. The fact that this gets in the way of being a functional individual is why mental illness is considered a medical condition. Here are the reasons you feel tired all the time.
In relation to feeling fatigued, depression can also manifest itself in troubles with sleep habits. But again, symptoms might be different for each person, especially in this case. Some might experience insomnia, where they have difficulties falling asleep, or they might wake up and then have trouble falling back to sleep. Others would also tend to oversleep. And it’s also possible to experience a combination where they have trouble falling asleep, but once they do, they tend to spend too much time sleeping.
Losing Interest in Things You Enjoy
Everyone has their passion, whether it’s music, art, playing video games, spending time with friends, or reading books. When you feel down, you can always feel comforted by doing these things. However, if you’re a person with depression, it might feel like these interests have become pointless.
The activities or interests you once loved and enjoyed have become lifeless and maybe even a source of frustration. This experience is called “anhedonia,” and it’s a common symptom of depression.
But anhedonia isn’t just for your passion, it could also affect other aspects such as your job, relationships, and goals. You might have been a driven individual and then you suddenly became unable to get a single task done. Or perhaps you enjoyed spending time with friends and family, but with depression, it can feel difficult to socialize and communicate even with people close to you.
Your goals can be affected in a way that they don’t inspire you anymore. It’s difficult to see the point of working toward these goals. And when you’re unable to do all these things that you used to do, it can make you feel worse and guilty.
People can go through many feelings, including restlessness. But then again, restlessness can be a symptom of depression. Just like many illnesses, it’s possible to experience symptoms without having the actual disorder itself. It’s also important to note that a person who has depression might not experience all the signs.
Restlessness could point to another type of depression, but this is another discussion altogether. Feeling restless can include difficulties being still or even having a hard time focusing. Some might tend to pace about, talk excessively, or exhibit impulsive behavior.
This symptom is also attributed to anxiety, so it’s necessary to get professional help to be diagnosed correctly.
Difficulties Recalling Details, Paying Attention, and Making Decisions
Another sign to look out for is difficulties in focusing, remembering details, and making a decision. Add to that feeling tired, restless, and down. It’s understandable how other mental activity requiring significant brain exertion can be affected.
However, it’s also essential to note that memory problems due to depression does not include long-term memory loss and procedural memory loss. You might be forgetful or have difficulties remembering certain things, but it isn’t as severe as memory loss issues.
Feeling Irritable or Cranky
Some people who have depression could express their negative emotions by crying or feeling numb. But it’s also possible to express it by lashing out. Anger, crankiness, and irritation are also symptoms of depression. Being unable to focus, feeling restless, having trouble sleeping, feeling tired, experiencing guilt, and going through all kinds of negative emotions can cause you to feel frustrated. This frustration can overwhelm your mind and make you irritable. But anger in itself is another expression of feeling hurt or sad. It’s just articulated differently.
Eating Too Much or Having No Appetite
Depression affects so much of people’s health, and it even affects eating habits. But just like other symptoms, it varies from person to person. It’s possible to overeat when you have depression, similar to how some people go through stress eating.
On the other hand, some people have no appetite, and it might feel like eating is a chore. Perhaps, anhedonia could also affect appetite, where even your favorite food won’t be appetizing. With this in mind, it’s easy to see how depression can affect people’s weight too.
It’s also interesting how mental illnesses like depression can manifest themselves physically in the body. The mind is amazing, and there are so many instances where it can affect the body without people being conscious of it. When you’re depressed, it’s also possible to feel aches, headaches, cramps, and even hot flashes. If you experience certain pains in your body, it’s best to consult a doctor to find out underlying causes. However, if the pains are unexplainable, it could be a symptom of depression.
- Stubborn Digestive Problems
Like aches and pains caused by depression, it’s difficult to imagine how mental illness can affect the digestive system. But yes, depression can also affect your digestive system. They are persistent and don’t seem to get better, even when you take medication or try to treat it. This relationship between the mind and the digestive system is called the gut-brain connection.
It’s quite common for people to experience this even when they don’t have depression. For instance, when you’re nervous, you can feel discomfort in your stomach, or as some people would say, having “butterflies in your stomach”. When feeling stressed or upset, some would even feel nauseated. Gut health is related to anxiety and depression, and the best way to deal with digestive problems is to address the depression.
The most alarming sign of depression is suicidal thoughts and attempts. When you feel hopeless, it’s easy to believe that death is the only way out. Suicidal thoughts can be challenging to identify since not everyone will actually talk about them until it’s too late.
The moment you start thinking about taking your own life, it’s a glaring sign to get professional help. You might say that it’s just thoughts and you won’t actually do it, but it’s essential not to take it lightly. And if you find yourself inflicting harm or pain upon yourself, this is also an indication that you might have depression. In such cases, it’s best to seek professional mental help as soon as possible.
There are many signs of depression, and you don’t need to check every box in the list before you decide to get professional help. Mental health is complex, and that’s understandable because the human mind is capable of numerous things. If you find yourself having persisting feelings of sadness, guilt, and worthlessness, then you might need to seek therapy.
Mood swings, changes in appetite, problems in your sleeping pattern, and constant suicidal thoughts are also signs of depression. There are many ways for people to improve mental health. However, the first step is to admit that you do need help—and there’s no shame in that.