Sometimes you know when you are depressed. You feel down and glum, and you may even express to a friend that you are “singing the blues”. At other times you may experience symptoms which are caused by depression, but that lead you to believe you are suffering from some other mental or physical condition. You misdiagnose what is causing the problem, so the condition persists.
In other words, the classic depression symptoms are not the only signs that you might be feeling down in the dumps. We all experience sadness from time to time. Being sad is a natural human emotion. However, a feeling of sadness most of the time could be a sign of chronic depression. You may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), persistent depressive disorder or some other type of clinically recognized state of depression.
The 9 Major Types of Depression:
- Major Depression
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Psychotic Depression
- Postpartum Depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Situational’ Depression
- Atypical Depression
Hormonal imbalances and changes to your brain chemistry can cause symptoms which not everyone identifies as signs of depression. An event in your life can cause a change from a normally happy, energetic person to a listless, sad individual that just doesn’t want to make an effort anymore.
Keep an eye out for the following signs that you may be depressed. If you find yourself experiencing 2 or more of the following depression symptoms on a regular basis, it may be time to talk to a counselor or receive some other type of professional help. A mental health specialist can help you uncover what type of depression you have, and diagnose the correct treatment.
(Please remember that depression is a clinically recognized illness.
It is never a sign of a character flaw or individual weakness. An
individual can’t just “snap out of” a case of clinical depression. If
you see the following signs in yourself or others, get help.)
1) Chronic Fatigue and Lack of Energy
Sometimes a depressed person will not feel sad at all. They will, however, in many cases experience a feeling of being “worn down” on a constant basis. They may exercise, watch what they eat and take other steps towards boosting their energy level and fighting fatigue. However, since this state of decreased energy and drive is being driven by a depressed mental state, their symptoms continue.
2) You Are the Ultimate Pessimist
Do you know someone who is constantly negative? It seems just about anything that anyone mentions draws a pessimistic response from that person. This could be a sign that your friend is simply argumentative, and likes to cause stress and strife. It could also be a symptom of depression.
Your pessimistic friend’s “always negative” outlook is actually created by depression, and in many cases the individual does not realize it. Because of this, the depression is not treated, and the pessimistic attitude continues throughout life.
3) You Are Always Feeling Guilty, Sometimes for No Reason at All
When you work hard for some success or achievement, you shouldn’t feel guilty about that. There are other examples where a feeling of guilt is inappropriate. If you are constantly feeling guilty because of your behavior, this could be a sign of clinical depression. Untreated clinical depression is considered a mental condition by the National Institute of Mental Health and other noted health organizations.
The problem is that the person feeling the guilt believes they actually should be experiencing this emotion. They cannot look at their situation or behavior from an objective viewpoint, and should get the help of a mental health professional.
4) Previously Enjoyable Hobbies and Activities Are No Longer Fun
Can you remember a time when hiking, needlepoint, cycling or reading was something you looked forward to? Are you bored or uninterested by those activities now? Is there very little that gets you mentally excited and anxious to take part? If so, depression could be the reason. Depression is a real illness, and you may be suffering from depression if you used to have a burning passion for a particular hobby or pastime that no longer excites or engages you.
5) You Feel Helpless
Many types of depression attack your brain the same way. They trigger a mental response that makes you feel helpless. When you feel you have no control over a particular event or outcome, you tend to do nothing at all. This chronic feeling of helplessness and inability can affect every area of your life, damaging relationships, wrecking careers and even leading to suicide.
6) Problems Sleeping
Mental health experts point to chronic sleeping problems as some of the most commonly misdiagnosed symptoms of depression. You toss and turn all night. You wake up tired, are dragging all day long, and have to reach for sugary, caffeine-loaded beverages throughout the day to keep you going. This jacks up an artificial energy level, making it hard to sleep again that night. You sleep poorly, wake up tired, and the cycle continues. Oversleeping, difficulty falling to sleep and other poor sleep habits that persist are often times a sign of depression.
7) Changes in Your Weight And/or Appetite
As has been mentioned several times, depression causes chemical and physiological changes in your mind and your body. This may result in losing or gaining a large amount of weight in a very short period of time, even though you make no changes to your diet or fitness program. Depression can also cause you to eat much more or much less than normal.
Remember, depression is an illness.
It is not a sign of weakness. If you find yourself answering mental and emotional problems by changing the way you eat, and how much you eat, depression could be the cause of this behavior, not a lack of willpower to eat properly on your part.
8) Irritability and Restlessness
Because of the hormonal release that some types of depression cause, you may find your emotions out of control. This can lead to a sense of irritability. You “lash out” at the people around you, often times even surprising yourself when you do so.
You feel that your emotions are uncontrollable, and it seems that everyone is getting on your nerves. Restlessness is also another common sign of depression. The depressed individual always has to be constantly going, doing something, moving and creating some type of effect, good or bad.
9) You Have a Hard Time Remembering Things
There are a lot of outside influences which can cause you to become forgetful. One of them is depression. A case of chronic depression means your brain chemistry is constantly being affected. This can lead to poor memory, and an inability to remember things, people, places and events that should be commonplace and were once easy to recall.
10) Making Decisions Is Difficult
Would you prefer that other people make decisions for you? This may not be the sign of anything other than a deference to someone who has more information or experience than you. However, when it happens chronically, when you hate thinking about making even tiny decisions, depression could be the culprit. The chemical changes caused by depression lead to a fear of what will happen if you make a decision, even a small one.
11) Your Ability to Concentrate and Focus Suffers
This is one more way that depression affects your brain. Some depressed individuals mention a decreased ability to focus and concentrate on tasks and thought processes. For children and young adults in school, this can cause serious problems.
We are not referring to a short-term lack of concentration. If you can’t seem to focus or concentrate and this condition continues for weeks or months, depression is a likely cause.
12) You Develop a Preoccupation With Death
Some depressed individuals will not even recognize that they have become preoccupied with death and dying. Often times a person’s friends and family members will notice this depression symptom before the person who is displaying the signs. Death is a natural part of the human life cycle. However, an unnatural or unhealthy and constant focus on death many times signals depression.
13) Headaches, Body Aches and Pains That Don’t Respond to Medication
Everyone gets aches and pains from time to time. Headaches can be caused by physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual stimulus. In most cases, aches and pains, headaches and other stresses and strains go away on their own.
They can also respond to over-the-counter medication quickly. The problem is when these aches and pains persist. Often times it is hard to locate their source or cause, and in this case, if they continue to persist, they could be signs of depression.
14) You Become “Clingy” or Overbearing
This is a sign of depression that is often found in children. They become clingy, usually to one particular parent or another. They may refuse to go to school or interact with anyone but that particular adult. The same thing happens in adults as well. One person in a relationship may begin to “smother” the other, become overbearing, and isn’t be able to spend any time away from their partner.
What to Do Next?
Depression affects everyone differently. That is why so many different symptoms arise from this mental state. Your genetics, brain chemistry, biology and life events all influence how depression evidences itself in your life. Even though depression can take many different forms in your life, it must be treated.
Untreated depression can sometimes lead to suicide.
In every case, it causes mental and physical problems for the depressed individual. Women and men often experience different signs of depression. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction are used by many depressed individuals to treat their feelings of chronic sadness.
Please get help if you suffer from 2 or more of the symptoms listed above. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be as mentally healthy as possible, and treating your depression quickly and appropriately can deliver physical benefits as well.