Moderate Depression Symptoms
Depression Anxiety And Fear
There are many ways moderate depression can affect our bodies and our mental health. Fear, anxiety and sadness are just a few emotions that may be running around rampant in your head and chest. Or perhaps you have just lost someone close to you, filling you with grief.
Here are 10 Moderate Depression Symptoms & Coping Techniques 2021
In this blog post, I am going to show you 10 moderate depression symptoms with coping techniques you can put into action right away.
Breaking down each of them on how they could be affecting you, plus ways to cope with your moderate depression and giving you treatment tips.
This is not a cure-all blog post, If you are finding you can’t get past this yourself please reach out to a professional for help.
These treatment and coping tips are here so you can add them to your tool kit for better mental health, in combination with your other tools.
What Is Moderate Depression?
A lot of people tend to confuse feeling blue with moderate depression. Moderate depression is more than just occasional sadness and feelings of loneliness in response to the struggles and setbacks of life. Feelings of sadness and hopelessness especially after some tragic event in your life, e.g. losing someone close to you, getting laid off from your job or failing a course, etc. usually last for a finite period of time. With moderate depression, these feelings can come out of nowhere and leave you unable to function.
The symptoms of moderate depression can be highly complex and vary tremendously from person to person. Signs of moderate depression cover a wide spectrum, from a patient exhibiting a combination of several physical, social and psychological symptoms. Depending on the nature of your symptoms and your personal history with this mental illness, you may be classified into one of the many types of depression that have been identified through years of research.
What Are 9 Types of Depression?
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Depressive Psychosis
- Perinatal Depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (Check out our blog that dives into this and gives 9 tips to fight it)
- Situational Depression
- Atypical Depression
If depression is left untreated, it can seriously impact your daily life and prevent you from functioning normally. Your family dynamic and love life can be affected. You may not even experience all of the signs of depression and may not realize that you have depression. Even though, sadness and hopelessness are closely associated with signs of depression, there are a lot of other symptoms that are less apparent and not obviously recognizable. Before we dive further in to these 10 signs of moderate depression, let’s take a look at what depression is and how it differs from normal bouts of sadness.
The exact definition of depression is hard to pin-point, not only because it is a sensitive topic in itself, but also because every individual’s experience with depression can vary. According to American Psychiatric Association (APA), depression is a serious medical illness that “causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed”. And while sadness and hopelessness are two words predominantly used to describe depression, people who actually experience the mental illness often report a lack thereof. In other words, depression can leave you feeling numb, not able to experience emotions like you normally would, whether it’s sadness, anger, happiness, etc.
There is an absence of these strong emotions that ends up creating a void, or a black hole, if you will, where normal activities (that you previously enjoyed) lose meaning nothing seems to matter anymore. An online blog called Hyperbole and a Half describes what depression feels like quite well.
The author sums it up perfectly when she says, “At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything.”
I turned this blog on types of moderate depression into a 10:25 YouTube video, in-case you learn better this way
10 Moderate Depression Symptoms
Remember that these moderate depression symptoms can vary from mild depression to severe depression in a matter of moments. Not everyone will experience the same severity or combination of these symptoms.
Moderate depression is essentially a mood disorder, and the most common sign of depression is a persistent state of sadness, hopelessness, and sometimes worthlessness that can prevent you from functioning normally. You may find your mental health in a continuously low mood. Being in a constant state of sadness can also cause you to get tearful without being able to pinpoint the problem. As a result of which, you may even start experiencing a lot of guilt and helplessness. Over time, these persistent negative feelings can also prevent you from enjoying your daily life.
How to cope: Practice gratitude
When you’re feeling low, and someone tells you to think “happy thoughts,” it doesn’t always sound practical or even possible, and that’s okay. That’s why it helps to start with a practice that is practical, and its thoughts of gratitude that will encourage more positive thoughts to come naturally in time.
There are several ways you can practice gratitude, such as jotting down in your journal each morning and night a few things you are grateful for. We created a list of 175 Morning Affirmations that can help you get started with this. It helps to be as specific as possible, but you can also start with more general things like family or food. While a gratitude journal is a great way to start cultivating a better mood, sometimes you need these “happy thoughts” when you’re out and about without your journal and feeling down. So, for each negative thought that comes up, take a moment to pause and replace it with three things you are grateful for. This practice will also help you become more mindful of your triggers and the thought patterns you have developed that are in no way helping.
Sleep Problems & Fatigue
Believe it or not, there are some physical signs of moderate depression as well that can help you determine whether you or someone you know is suffering from this mental illness. Sleep problems are common in depression. You may notice that you have trouble sleeping at night and an even harder time waking up early in the morning and getting out of bed to start your day. A disturbance in your normal sleep schedule can leave you feeling lethargic and fatigued. This state of tiredness can ultimately lead to a lack of energy and motivation for performing even the simplest of tasks.
How to cope: Create a bedtime routine with yoga and meditation
Incorporate a few simple and restful yoga poses into your nighttime routine. Letting your legs rest up a wall as you lie reclined helps calm the nervous system or ease moderate depression.
You might go straight into what is typically a final resting pose: Savasana (corpse pose); this one will help relieve stress and tension from your day. You can even perform these while you’re already in bed. The key is to use them as an opportunity to release some deep breaths, unwind, and quiet the mind.
Do sleep meditation
These sleep meditations are also things you can do while already in bed:
- Take deep breaths as you count in your head: “in, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, hold, exhale out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5”, and continue to repeat until you feel more at ease.
- Visualize relaxing your body from your toes up by saying to yourself: “relax your toes” repeatedly while taking deep breaths until that body part feels relaxed. Take your time as you turn your attention to all areas of your body, working your way up to your head.
Weight Changes & Fluctuating Appetite
As mentioned earlier, moderate depression does have very obvious physical symptoms associated with it that you can look out for. Weight changes and a fluctuating appetite may vary from one individual to another. For example, for some people, a weight change could mean gaining weight; for others, it could mean the exact opposite, i.e., a loss of appetite. Remember that these dramatic changes in weight and appetite are unconscious and a direct result of depression in our mental health, so the patient might not be aware that it’s happening unless pointed out.
How to cope: Increase your physical activity
Sometimes the last thing you want to do is exercise if you are struggling with moderate depression, but if you can just get over that first hurdle, whether it’s showing up at the gym or putting on your sneakers to go for a walk, it’s the best thing you can do for your appetite.
Regular physical activity will help you maintain a regular appetite, not to mention the benefits it has on your mood that are influencing your weight and appetite changes. If you are struggling with a loss of appetite, try burning some calories first. If you are gaining weight, exercise will encourage you to make healthier choices and build more mindful eating habits.
An Apathetic Outlook On Life & Passions
An individual who is depressed loses their ability to stay passionate, motivated, and emotionally invested in life in general. If you were passionate about music, dance, or any other activity that brought you pleasure, but you start noticing that the activity no longer interests you, then this could potentially be a sign of depression. You might notice that even when you force yourself into participating in these activities, you are unable to derive joy from them like you used to. Moreover, you may start experiencing a very apathetic outlook on life and things in general. Remember that these symptoms should continue to persist for a longer duration of time and if they do, seeking out professional help is crucial for your mental health.
How to cope: Take an art therapy class
Art and creativity are all about self-expression, which can help you overcome your feelings of hopelessness or apathy. Creating art is a process where you are actively channeling your creativity, which is a part of living and what makes you human. Creativity is an outward expression that keeps you from retreating inward and ruminating over things you used to love and why you’re not enjoying them right now.
An art therapy class will provide you with a more guided and supportive experience through things like guided discussions and questions. Through art therapy, you can find a sense of accomplishment and empowerment through creating art, as well as possibly use your artwork to get more in tune with your thoughts and mental state.
If a class isn’t an option for you right now, try being creative at home. You can do anything from make bracelets to paint on a canvas, even if you’ve never tried. Remember to focus on the process rather than the outcome, and you can do this by being present and noticing things like textures, techniques, and colors.
Contrary to popular belief, moderate depression does have several physical manifestations that you can look out for. In fact, research studies suggest that mood disorders can end manifesting themselves in seemingly unrelated signs such as joint pains, body aches bloating, etc. If experience unexplainable pains and aches in any part of your body frequently, you may need to get professional advice before you rule out depression as one of the causes.
How to cope: Do low-impact exercises like yoga
Many people who experience aches and pains will avoid exercise, but if you get out of shape, you will be at risk for more pain and even injury. If you’re struggling with joint pain or aches as a result of your moderate depression, one of the best things you can for your body (and mind) is start off the day with some gentle stretching to loosen it up.
From there, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon, or evening, try practicing yoga as a low-impact exercise that can help you ease muscle tension through relaxation and stretching as well as reduce joint pain by focusing on proper alignment. Even a slower-moving style of yoga can help keep you in shape and will reduce the likelihood of injury by strengthening the muscles around your joints. There are also yoga poses that you can tailor to specific needs, so if bloating and digestion is the issue, you can try spinal twists or seated forward bends.
If you are someone who prefers something more gym or cardio-based, there is always walking outside or spending 20-30 minutes on an elliptical. Indoor stationary bikes are also a great option, but if your pain level is high, you may want to opt for a recumbent bike rather than an upright one.
Feeling Angry/ Irritable
Mental health issues like moderate depression are often brushed under the rug. The stigma associated with it tends to prevent people from openly speaking up about it. And that is exactly where the problem starts. A lot of people with hidden moderate depression may not show the traditional sad and helpless signs that you would normally instantly associate with depression.
As mentioned earlier, the signs of moderate depression can vary tremendously from person to person. Although unusual, people with hidden depression might experience unexplained anger and irritability that can influence their day-to-day life. More often than naught, this sign may be more prominent in men than in women. It is very likely that these signs may be overlooked by people as being unrelated to depression. An open discussion surrounding the subject of depression and mental health is important so that people with hidden moderate depression signs such as these can be helped.
How to cope: Try progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing
Muscle tension is a common sign of anger, irritability, and stress in the body. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is like working backward through the symptoms of tension to address the underlying issues and promote a sense of calm. This relaxation technique involves creating tension in each muscle group in the body, starting at either the forehead or the feet and then slowly releasing – one at a time.
Similar to what we said about gratitude journaling, this is something you can do even when you’re not feeling angry. It is a helpful technique for when you are, but it is even better when you are proactive about it, as with most coping and mental health strategies.
Another useful practice you can consider getting in the habit of, especially when you are feeling angry in the moment and not somewhere you can lie down at practice PMR, is deep breathing. When you feel upset or irritated, breathe slowly in through your nose, then exhale out of your mouth. Think deep breaths from your belly rather than your chest.
Digestive problems are another overlooked sign of moderate depression with our mental health. If you notice that you consistently have digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea, be sure not to completely rule out depression as one of the likely causes, particularly if these digestive problems occur in combination with other signs of depression.
How to cope: Practice acceptance
Stomach discomfort and digestive issues are never fun, but the more you tense up or worry, the more it can make things worse. You may have heard of the concept of acceptance as a necessary step when it comes to coping with anxiety and depression, and it also applies to stomach problems that occur from anxiety and moderate depression.
You cannot control your stomach and digestion, but you can remember that there is a strong connection between your gut and your brain that can contribute to your digestion problems. So, rather than stressing over what you cannot control, try to relax and sit with the discomfort. Accepting your stomach problems, just as any other symptom, can help reduce the original problem.
A research study conducted at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg in Germany found a correlation between depression and eye sight/ vision problems. Although not as common as the other signs of moderate depression on this list, vision problems have been associated with depression by several research studies and therefore cannot simply be ignored, particularly if there is no other plausible explanation for why they are occurring.
How to cope: Give your eyes a rest and get the proper nutrients
Our eye health is so important, yet it tends to get overlooked – no pun intended. Make it a regular habit to give your eyes a rest. It is possible to forget to blink enough, especially if you look at your phone or computer a lot throughout the day. The 20-20-20 rule is easy to remember and follow – every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. It is also worth noting that taking breathers from screen time is helpful for your mental health for an entirely different set of reasons.
Another thing you should do is include plenty of vegetables in your diet, particularly green leafy ones. Eating fatty fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids like tuna or salmon is also helpful, but if that’s not your thing, fish oil supplements are just as beneficial.
Headaches & Anxiety
Depression headaches are not the same as stress-induced pains or migraines. Depression headaches are usually subtle and tend to induce a throbbing sensation around the eyebrows. Moreover, an anxious state is another common symptom of moderate depression. If you are consistently anxious without knowing why, you might need to seek professional help, especially if it co-exists with other signs of moderate depression.
How to cope: Manage stress and exercise
Depression can trigger your headaches, but there is also likely a plausible explanation for what is exacerbated by and contributing to both, whether it is something like fatigue, a poor diet, or underlying stress. Take a look at our blog post on anxiety relief for instant help.
Whether or not you feel or realize that stress is a major cause for your moderate depression, stress management can still go a long way in helping ease your feelings and symptoms. There are so many ways you can manage stress, from taking walks outside to meditation.
Stress or no stress, exercise is another beneficial way to ease depression headaches. It can be difficult to exercise with a headache, but if you can pump some oxygen throughout your body through exercise in between your more severe headaches, it can reduce the frequency of them.
Thoughts Of Self-Harm
If you have thoughts of self-harm in any manner or form, seek out professional help immediately. Self-harm and thoughts of suicide are signs of depression. You may experience persistent thoughts of death, and you might even be embarrassed to admit or disclose the fact that you have these thoughts. Remember that there is no shame in suffering from a mental illness. There are always people who can help you; whether it’s a family member or a close friend, they can help you get professional help and relevant depression treatment.
How to cope: Ask For Help, You Are Not Alone
There is always someone to talk to if you feel you want to commit harm to yourself, pick up the phone and make the call. There is a list of worldwide suicide prevention hotlines below.
There are a few different reasons why people have the urge to self-harm, whether it is out of a need for control or to punish yourself out of self-shame, or feelings of numbness, disconnectedness, sadness, frustration, or fear. That said, there are different techniques that can be useful for your specific feelings, but many fall under one specific coping mechanism for thoughts of self-harm which is distracting yourself.
Even if it’s hard to imagine that it’s possible to cope another way when you have urges to hurt yourself, there are alternative behaviors you can put in its place. Pay attention to your patterns and triggers. Seek distractions or self-harm alternatives: color, take a shower, hug a stuffed animal or pillow, let yourself cry, go for a walk, read a book, or watch a movie. Even if you cannot resist the urge to self-harm the next time, reflect on what happened to help you understand the feelings and patterns that lead to your intense urges.
3 Ways To Cope With Symptoms Of Moderate Depression
Coping with moderate depression can be easier said than done. If your symptoms are getting severe, please be sure to seek out medical advice and follow that religiously. Moreover, here are some additional ways you can cope with signs of moderate depression to better your mental health.
Stick To A Schedule
Suffering from moderate depression can mean you’ll have days where you won’t feel like getting out of bed. There will be days where you will feel like there is no point to anything. Remember to be kind to yourself if you’re feeling that way. There are several ways you can re-gain some balance in your life and mental health. Sticking to a schedule is a great way to have something to look forward to everyday (even though it still can be a struggle). Keeping a regular routine and making a list of things you need to do can provide some perspective on how to go about your day.
Talk To A Therapist
Remember that depression is a mental illness and a serious medical condition. Depression treatment involves seeking out professional help. This could involve regular or weekly sessions with a trained psychiatrist who can provide the correct depression treatment for your specific needs. Talking to a therapist can help you process some of your feelings and help you cope with your mental health struggles more effectively.
Express Your Thoughts In A Journal
Writing can be therapeutic. Develop a habit of writing down your thoughts, whether positive or negative, into a journal. By writing down what you’re feeling, you’ll relieve yourself of some of the stress or anxiety you’re experiencing. You’ll be surprised to notice how much better you feel after writing your thoughts down.
I Would Love To Hear From You
Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of, WHO states that over 264,000,000 people worldwide are affected by this mental health struggle.
I created this blog of 10 moderate depression symptoms with coping techniques you can put into action right away, with hopes it helped you connect some struggles and find positive actions to overcome them in time.
Do you see any of these moderate depression symptoms happening in you?
I would love you to share so others don’t feel so alone. Which moderate depression symptom or more than one do you feel?
And what your plans are to combat it ❤️