Mental Health Help:
10 Most Common Signs of Depression
There are many ways depression can affect our bodies and our mental health.
- Persistent Sadness
- Sleeping Issues
- Weight Changes
- Detached Emotions
- Unexplained Pains
- Digestive Problems
- Vision Problems
- Harmful Thoughts
In this blog post I am going to show you 10 most common signs of depression affecting your mental health, that you may not recognize by yourself.
Breaking down each of them on how they could be affecting you.
PLUS : 3 bonus actionable ways to address them.
A lot of people tend to confuse feeling blue with depression. 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 depression, these feelings can come out of nowhere and leave you unable to function.
The symptoms of depression can be highly complex and vary tremendously from person to person. Signs of 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.
Types of Depression
If depression is left untreated, it can seriously impact your daily life and prevent you from functioning normally. 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 in further in to the top 10 most common signs of depression, let’s take a look at what depression really 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.”
Table of Contents
10 Signs Of Depression
Remember that depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Not everyone will experience the same severity or combination of these symptoms. Moreover, a combination of these signs must continue for a minimum period of two weeks in order to qualify as depression.
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 pin-point the problem. As a result of which, you may even start experiencing a lot of guilt and helplessness. Overtime, these continuous negative feelings can also prevent you from enjoying your daily life.
Sleep Problems & Fatigue
Believe it or not, there are some physical signs of depression as well that can help you determine whether you or someone you know is suffering from this mental illness. However, do note that these symptoms might take longer than two weeks to be noticed. Sleep problem 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 the 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.
Weight Changes & Fluctuating Appetite
As mentioned earlier, 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.
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 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 in to 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.
Contrary to popular belief, 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.
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Feeling Angry/ Irritable
Mental health issues like 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 depression may not show the traditional sad and helpless signs that you would normally instantly associate with depression. As mentioned earlier, the signs of depression can vary tremendously from person to person. Although unusual, people with hidden depression might experience unexplainable anger and irritability that can influence their day to day life. More often than naught, this sign may be more prominent in men then 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 depression signs such as these can be helped.
Digestive problems are another overlooked sign of depression with our mental health. If you notice that you consistently have digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea, be sure to not completely rule out depression as one of the likely causes. Particularly, if these digestive problems occur in combination with other signs of depression.
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 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.
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 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 depression.
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.
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. You can do it.
3 Ways To Cope With Symptoms Of Depression
Coping with 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 depression to better your mental health.
Stick To A Schedule
Suffering from 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.
Want to learn more about creating an attainable daily schedule with routines that aid your mental health? We wrote the perfect blog for you.
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.
Now 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.
What of these 10 most common signs of depression do you see happening in yourself?
Comment below if you use one of the three ways to cope with your depression, to inspire others to try them as well.