Depression: 10 Signs That Often Go Unnoticed
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“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.”
We use the word ‘depressed’ very lightly. ‘I didn’t get a good score in my tests, I’m depressed’. ‘My dress doesn’t fit me, I’m depressed’. But depression is so much more than just that. It does not mean occasional sadness, temporary mood swings, being upset, or loneliness. Read on for the signs of depression you should be looking out for. Who knows, you may help a friend or a family member. Or even yourself.
Keep in mind, though, that clinical depression and its symptoms can often differ from one person to another. Just because you identify, or identified, with one or more of these symptoms today or at some point in the past, does not necessarily mean that you are depressed. Depression consumes you, and doesn’t allow you to function normally, with little or no relief. The symptoms of depressions are:
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable things – Work, friends, hobbies, activities, sex – all these tend to hold no interest anymore.
- Changes in appetite and weight – A 5 per cent change in body weight within a month, for unexplained reasons, may be cause for alarm. Eating too little, or too much, is a symptom of depression.
- Changes in sleep pattern – Sleeping too little, waking up at odd hours, insomnia, or sleeping too much are also symptoms.
- Unexplained aches and pains – Stomach aches, headaches, back pains, when all medical reasons have been ruled out, could be a sign of depression.
- Negative feelings – Consistent feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, frustration, anger, anxiety, panic, and irritability should not be discounted. Depressed people are often overly critical of themselves, focusing on past failures, and on things that may not be their fault.
- Self-loathing – When you start feeling that everything is your fault, that no one loves you, that you are worthless and just plain wrong, all the time, it’s time to see a doctor.
- Reckless behaviour – People who excessively use alcohol or drugs, indulge in reckless gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports could be hiding their depression behind such escapist or risky behaviour.
- Focus issues – Concentrating on even simple things seems like a herculean task. Remembering things and making decisions seems impossible.
- Loss of energy – You could feel lethargy, fatigue, or exhaustion by doing even small tasks.
- Thoughts, conversation, or attempting suicide – Anyone who talks or thinks of suicide or death could be displaying signs. Anyone who attempts suicide can be considered depressed.
If any of these symptoms last for more than two weeks, contact your doctor. Depression patients usually have persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or of emptiness. They may often cry for no reason. A sense of impending doom is also not uncommon.
Mostly, depression symptoms in men lean towards anger, irritability, tiredness, and loss of interest in activities. In women, the symptoms may present themselves as changes in appetite and sleep patterns, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and frustration. In young people and teens, these symptoms may show themselves as anger and irritability issues. Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and unexplained aches and pains could also be tell-tale signs.
Depression is not something that you should take lightly or be ashamed of. Just like other diseases, this is also a medical condition and should be treated. If you are depressed, talk to a doctor. If that is not an option, talk to a friend, a family member, or anyone else that you feel comfortable with, who can provide some guidance.