I can’t believe how often I am asked about what the symptoms of depression are. It seems like nobody is educated on mental illnesses in any kind of comprehensive way. So today, we will talk about Depression and what the signs are.
The first sign is feeling sad, empty, dejected, lonely, or isolated for no reason. People with Depression often lose their positive self-image, and feel as if the world cannot improve around them.
The second sign is loss of interest. Either forgetting to do things you like, or not getting pleasure out of them, are both big problems for a depressed person. For example, when I’m depressed, I write less, and feel less rewarded by sharing my feelings and thoughts.
The third sign is weight change. This can be gains or losses, when you are not trying to gain or lose weight. This can be caused by an increased or decreased appetite, or the inability to care about how much you eat, on way or the other. Also, in children, then may come as not gaining weight at a normal pace. Kids need to gain weight to grow.
The fourth symptom is a change to your sleeping pattern, or an unhealthy sleep cycle. Someone who is depressed may sleep too much (like me) or too little. This is often a result of other symptoms, such as diet, and the cause of other symptoms, such as mood.
The fifth symptoms are psychomotor changes. This means that a depressed person may be agitated, or lethargic. When I’m depressed, I often have a tremor in my hands, making it hard to do any kind of fine needlework, or to paint. Sometimes this can escalate to the point where I cannot write legibly. The other end of the spectrum, lethargy, may leave you stuck in chair/bed until there are piles of messes around the depressed persons favorite haunt. This is perfectly normal, and not the person “just being lazy”.
The sixth symptoms are feelings of worthlessness or guilt. When a depressed person fails at something, it turns into something so much bigger. For me, when I hurt someone’s feelings, I think that I am the most awful person in the world, even if I thought it was necessary at the time. I feel like I’m not friends with that person until I make it up to them, and I have ruined more than one relationship thinking that I had screwed up too much to fix it.
The seventh symptom is a cloudy head feeling. A depressed person often feels like they cannot think, move, or act in a normal speed. I often find it hard to think of the “perfect word” for a sentence. It makes me bonkers, and sends me into a run of feeling worthless, even though it’s a simple thing.
The last symptom is moodiness. Not just being sad or feeling dejected. It’s being irritable, snappy, and all around cranky. I banish myself to my room sometimes when I get like this. Other times I’m not aware enough of my mood and I snap at the kids before I realize what I’m doing.
As you can see, these symptoms can be very serious. It can make your life come to a complete standstill. I’ve met people who have even “retired” because of their illness. That is why it is important to recognize symptoms as soon as they pop up, before they can escalate. Early identification is essential to long term health. Seek help for yourself, or help others. It’s worth the relatively small effort to change a life.