All of us feel down sometimes. There are days that things just don’t seem to go our way or we wake up on the wrong side of the bed. However, constantly feeling this way may be a sign of depression. Here are some things to look out for, so you know when to ask for help.
Long Periods of Sadness
As said earlier, everybody feels sad at some point. It’s a normal human emotion and it’s unavoidable. This feeling may last a few hours or a day. On the other hand, depression often comes with a persistent feeling of sadness that lasts for at least 2 weeks. According to Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC, “Depression is an illness, an illness that you have little control over, just like any other illness. Nobody tells people with broken bones to get over their pain.”
The Feeling of Hopelessness
Many people suffering from depression may feel like nobody is there for them. They may feel worthless. Often times, this is not the case and other people will want to help them. However, despite all the reassurance that people may give them, they may dismiss it, not believing it to be true. Depression can be likened to a feeling of being in a hole or a pit. Even convincing them to feel better is futile as pessimism is another symptom.
People suffering from depression typically have trouble with sleeping. This means they may experience difficulty either falling asleep or staying asleep, despite feeling tired. They also rarely get the proper amount of sleep, sleeping too little or too much. “Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain processes complex stimuli.” Says Staci Lee Schnell, MS,CS,LMFT. Therefore, it is essential to consider getting more of it.
Changes in Appetite
This is more than just getting a food craving now and then. Depression may bring about a loss of appetite. Inversely, people may also find themselves eating more or eating impulsively. This may lead to significant weight loss or gain.
Loss of Interest or Motivation
It’s a common symptom of depression when you lose interest in things that you used to enjoy. People find it difficult to convince themselves to do even their favorite hobby. They may also experience a decline in focus. For example, they may have trouble being able to watch a video for more than a few seconds at a time. Sometimes, simple routine activities may also be difficult. Merely pulling yourself out of bed may also be a task, as you feel like staying in bed all day.
Withdrawing from Others
While people with depression may seek out help when they go through an episode, there’s also a tendency for them to withdraw from others. They may delete social media accounts or not respond to calls and text messages. They may do this as they feel like they’re annoying or bothering others. Ben Martin, Psy.D. explains that “being in a low socioeconomic group is a risk factor for depression. This may be due to factors such as perceived low social status, cultural factors, financial problems, stressful environments, social isolation, and greater daily stress.”
Depression can also mean being easily annoyed or irritated. While there are people who just have short tempers, it may be a sign if you find yourself being more irritable than usual. This includes being unreasonably angry or being annoyed by a small thing. Being frustrated at your own small mistakes is also a sign.
This is one of the largest symptoms of depression. While all of us may joke around about wanting to just sink into the earth, persistent thoughts of self-harm or suicide are troubling. It’s especially a concern if people go as far as planning out how it will happen. Mere thoughts of self-harm are one thing but planning and acting upon these feelings are a different story.
“Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.”Says Chris Corbett, PsyD.
If you find yourself exhibiting many of these symptoms, it may be best to seek out professional help or check out websites offering online therapy. Recognizing that there may be an issue is the first step to recovery. It’s best to seek out help as soon as possible and when you feel like you’re ready, before you slip into bad coping mechanisms.