Signs of depression not to ignore

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Signs of depression not to ignore

Many of us can say we’ve been “depressed.”  Almost all everyone will have an episode of melancholy feelings making us feel down but usually the emotion lifts within a few days.  But when unrelenting sadness or hopelessness hangs on keeping you from enjoying life or doing your usual routine, it’s time to get help.  This could be clinical depression which affects an estimated 7% of adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health

But sometimes it can be hard to know for sure.  You hope you can bust through the fog of depression but if you’ve been dealing with it every day for two weeks and is impairing how you function, it’s time to see your doctor.  

Here are signs signaling when being down in the dumps as crossed over into full-blown depression.  If you have had a least four of these symptoms for the past two weeks or more, seeking medical help is needed as soon as possible:

·      You’re eating more or less than usual

One way depression can manifest itself is as either a loss of appetite or just the opposite.  When your brain is preoccupied with negative thoughts, you may forget to eat or it could make you very hungry driving you to overeat.  When having a mix of emotions from sadness, pessimism about the future, and low self-esteem, this can compel you to soothe those feelings with food binges.

·      You are sleeping too much or too little

Depression can make you feel very tired.  Sleeping more than usual is also a way depressed people escape from their sadness as it becomes a refuge.  On the other hand, depression can result in restlessness or interrupted sleep or even insomnia.  Their brain may be so obsessed with thoughts that they have great difficulty winding down in order to sleep.  When you’re not getting sufficient sleep, your body’s internal clock gets out of sync making you feel even more tired and less able to cope.

·      You are easily agitated

Each of us can become irritated but when it is especially heightened, this could be a warning sign of depression.  Feeling cranky or grumpy over things that normally don’t set your off causing you to snap at family, friends or coworkers could be triggered by heavy emotions.  Physical pain is known for making us agitated but so can psychological pain.  You don’t feed like your usual self which can sap your patience setting you on edge.

·      You find it hard to concentrate or focus

Forgetting a work deadline, an important meeting, or feeling your mind is out-of-focus could be your brain on depression. Preoccupation with thoughts of sadness and emptiness can plunge you headlong into affecting your ability to focus while on the job or at home.  This unfocused thinking can lead to poor decision making or unhealthy risky behavior.

·      You no longer enjoy life

Gone are the days of carefree joy and happiness you once felt.  You’ve lost interest in things you once looked forward to.  The things that once gave you pleasure no longer stimulate you.  These emotions are all signs of depression.  Apathy about activities and hobbies or isolating yourself can lead to a vicious cycle of depression robbing you of the ability to derive enjoyment from life experiences.

·      You feel worthless or inconsequential

Thoughts of “I’m not good enough” or “I no longer matter” are dangerous signs of depression. This type of thinking only fuels self-harming behavior as it leads to extreme negativity making you more at risk.  Triggers for these feelings could be a bad breakup or a sudden job loss destroying your self-esteem resulting in depression.

·      You are riddled with anxiety

Overwhelming feelings of panic or fear often signify an anxiety disorder. This is often true but it can also be a clue to depression. Anxious thoughts can coincide with depression which can then result in panic attacks.  Not only can a person feel certain emotions associated with anxiety but it can also show up in physical symptoms as well – rapid heartbeat, excessive perspiration, and sleep problems. 

·      You have little to no energy

Being depressed often results in lethargy.  Sleeping too much, eating too much or too little can be signs of dealing with this lack of energy from depression. When a black cloud of sadness envelopes a person, it can literally drain all energy a person can muster throughout the day.  This can result in being too tired to tackle routine tasks such as housework or having a job.  Just getting out of bed or taking a shower can become exhausting. 

Getting help

Depression is a debilitating condition which requires appropriate treatment with a qualified mental health professional.  The first step is making an appointment with your doctor who can recommend doctors treating depression in your area.  Treatment for depression could include talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes such as improving eating habits and becoming more physically active.  The important thing though is to seek out treatment as soon as possible to get your life back on track.