Sometimes we learn lessons from the mistakes we make, the easy way, sometimes we learn the hard way. Either way, we learn what we are supposed to.
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You may feel down sometimes, and it is not intended for you to feel a lot more depressed, but you have to realize that pain is life’s reality, and everyone encounters it, so what really matters is that you get yourself back up.
Everyone feels a little down in the dumps now and then. But sadness and withdrawal can become crippling, putting you at risk for a number of serious conditions and consequences, including suicide.
Depression symptoms aren’t always as obvious as frequent crying and overwhelming despair. Oftentimes the changes are subtle, and the person may not notice, but their friends and loved ones may.
There’s no one pattern. Depression symptoms may gradually progress from the mild, such as choosing to stay home to watch TV instead of going out with friends, to the more severe, such as thoughts of suicide. Or someone may go from seeming perfectly happy to being totally depressed in a matter of days or weeks. The progression varies from person to person.
Being unhappy isn’t the same as being depressed. Depression is a term often used loosely to describe how we feel after a bad week at work or when we’re going through a breakup. But major depressive disorder — a type of depression — is much more complicated. There are specific symptoms that determine whether it’s depression or the sadness we all sometimes experience in life.
To help you recognize depression that warrants concern, whether in yourself or a loved one, here are six depression symptoms — some of which you might even find surprising — that you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Increased Fatigue & Trouble Sleeping
Despite being slower in demeanor and motivation, depressed people often lie awake at night, unable to sleep. On the other hand, some depressed people may find it difficult to get out of bed and may sleep for long periods during the day.
Part of the reason you might stop doing things you enjoy is because you feel very tired. Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among the most debilitating symptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping.
As one might lead to the other and vice versa, they can also make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety, with symptoms such as;
• nervousness, restlessness, or feeling tense
• feelings of danger, panic, or dread
• rapid heart rate
• rapid breathing
• increased or heavy sweating
• trembling or muscle twitching
• trouble focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about.
2. Loss of Interest in Favorite Activities
Some people turn to hobbies they enjoy when they feel blue, but people with major depression tend to avoid them. Depression can take the pleasure or enjoyment out of the things you love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that you once looked forward to — sports, hobbies, or going out with friends — is yet another telltale sign of major depression.
Another area where you may lose interest is sex. Symptoms of major depression include a decreased sex drive and even impotence.
3. Increase in Energy
Ironically, when depressed people have made a decision to do something drastic, such as killing themselves, they may go from lackadaisical and slowed to more energetic. That’s because they feel a sense of relief in having come to a resolution. So, if you notice a drastic switch like this, you should be very concerned.
4. Change in Appetite
Some people overeat when they’re depressed or anxious, but in people with severe depression, the opposite is usually true. A depressed person may stop eating because he or she is no longer concerned with physical well-being. Weight and appetite can fluctuate for people with depression. This experience may be different for each person. Some people will have an increased appetite and gain weight, while others won’t be hungry and will lose weight.
One indication of whether dietary changes are related to depression is if they’re intentional or not. If they’re not, it may mean that they’re caused by depression.
In some people, depression manifests as more irritability and impatience than feeling down. Depression can affect the sexes differently. Research shows that men with depression may have symptoms such as irritability, escapist or risky behavior, substance abuse, or misplaced anger.
Men are also less likely than women to recognize depression or seek treatment for it.
6. An Emerging Dark Side & A Hopeless Outlook
A person who is severely depressed may become preoccupied with death and other morose topics. For example, he or she may talk about what things will be like “after I am gone,” and may also become more likely to take uncalculated risks.
Major depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about life in general. Having a hopeless or helpless outlook on your life is the most common symptom of depression.
Other feelings may be worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. Common, recurring thoughts of depression may be vocalized as, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?”
The Next Step: Getting Help
If you have had some of the previously mentioned symptoms for more than two weeks, you might be suffering from major depression disorder. Recognizing that you’re depressed is essential to getting the right help.
Depression affects millions of people, but there are varying treatments available, from lifestyle changes to medications. No matter the path of treatment you choose, asking for professional help is the first step to getting back to feeling like yourself again.
If you notice any of these serious depression symptoms in yourself or someone you love, reach out and get help.
Assess the severity. If you or a loved one is considering harming himself or herself, or is having other dark thoughts, immediate treatment is critical.
Create a safe environment. If the person expresses suicidal thoughts, remove any potentially lethal items from the home, such as guns.
See a mental health professional. It doesn’t have to be a psychiatrist — it can also be a psychologist or therapist.
Don’t Judge – Be kind. Blaming or chastising depressed people for feeling low or unmotivated is not helpful and typically serves to reinforce negative feelings they already have.
Ignore the stigma. Depressed people who are suicidal are not murderers. Suicidal thinking can be a depression symptom, but homicidal thinking is not.
In all, consult a doctor for medical advice!