There’s been a lot of talk about depression this year in light of pandemic shutdowns and working-at-home isolation. While mental health has been an important topic this year, things like depression have always been around in the lives of people from all walks of life. It can hit in times of setbacks, struggles, and stressful events such as divorce, life transitions, loss of a loved one and even pregnancy. Genetics may play a factor in an individual’s susceptibility, but not always.
People who live with depression can experience many symptoms that can result in lost workdays, withdrawal from family and friends, poor grades, and risky behavior. These negative effects can make the condition worse, creating a frustrating cycle of depression and anxiety.
One of the keys to fighting depression is knowing the following signs and symptoms for a correct diagnosis. Once the condition is determined, a treatment plan can begin for a more hopeful outlook.
Loss of Interest in Activities
Do you love to paint, participate in sports, or cook? When you’re depressed, you may find yourself avoiding the activities you normally love, as you no longer find joy in pursuing them.
Staying on a regular sleep schedule can be difficult with depression. You may be awake all night and sleep all day. Some people wake up in the early morning hours, unable to go back to sleep. For others, sleeping may not happen at all for days.
Loss of Energy
Completing the simplest task, like brushing your teeth or getting the mail, can feel overwhelmingly tiresome. Fatigue and sluggish moves make you feel physically drained, heavy, and exhausted.
Feelings of Hopelessness
Holding onto hope for a future seems impossible for someone experiencing severe depression, giving them little reason to get up in the morning, work hard, and achieve goals.
Weight Gain or Loss
While some people lose their appetite altogether when depressed, others grab the nearest and easiest foods in handfuls to alleviate the pain they feel. Here, overeating becomes self-medicating, resulting in the addition of unwanted pounds, which can further feed the depression.
Irritability and Anger
While depressed, a person’s tolerance level is lowered. This leads to others’ innocent actions becoming irritating, getting on the nerves of the depressed person. Irritable anger lashes out for the smallest things, like humming a tune or taking a longer shower than usual.
Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt
When you don’t feel worthy, you tend to over criticize yourself, sinking into a dark hole of negative thinking. Feeling guilt can make this worse, adding to the pain inside.
Depression can cause you to forget important birthdays, mess up familiar recipes, and struggle to focus at work.
Aches and Pains
Headaches, back and neck pain, stomach pain, and aching muscles are common complaints that often show up as symptoms of depression.