Many of us live without recognizing depression symptoms, or we just carry on and normalize the symptoms as being a part of us. But doing this inevitably makes the symptoms much worse over time.
It is vitally important to recognize depression symptoms and act upon them. Realizing you have these symptoms and seeking help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength in that you wish to regain control of your life.
This article covers some other most common signs of recognizing depression symptoms.
Common Symptoms Of Depression
Mental health professionals use a ‘depression test’ which contain the following questions, these are indicators to help in recognizing depression symptoms.
- Have you found little pleasure or interest in doing things?
- Have you found yourself feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
- Have you had trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
- Have you been feeling tired or had little energy?
- Have you had a poor appetite or been overeating?
- Have you felt that you’re a failure or let yourself or your family down?
- Have you had some trouble concentrating on things like reading the paper or watching TV?
- Have you been moving or speaking slowly, or be very fidgety, so that other people could notice?
- Have you thought that you’d be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way?
They are the set nine questions a professional will use and each is answered with a choice of multiple answers and at the end of this test, you will receive a score. The score indicates you ‘level’ of depression or if you are at risk.
More Not So Common Symptoms
It is very common for people suffering from depression to isolate themselves. In many ways, this is a coping mechanism and a way to avoid confrontation and talking about their illness. I found when I first recognized I was suffering from depression that firstly my mind blocked out the nasty bits of my life and I could not remember where I worked or the people I worked with. This can be a very scary experience but this is a way your brain is protecting you.
Anxiety can also be tied in with depression so can be equally important in recognizing depression symptoms. Anxiety comes in many guises the most common being :
- Feeling Sick
- Need to Urinate or Defecate
- Blurred Vision (This is caused when the brain redirects blood flow to feed your flight responses)
- Rapid Thoughts
I will write more about anxiety in later posts, it is very entwined with depression symptoms so I felt it was important to mention it here.
Another symptom is thinking that people are talking about you. I felt this and I thought that people could tell I was mentally unwell and talking about me. And at times I felt they were laughing at me. This reinforced the need to isolate me.
When people start to suffer from mental health issues they can often feel stigmatized and labelled. Mental health problems are not a sign of being weak or being a failure. This in itself is a hurdle to get over so you can receive help. Remembering that one in four people suffer from mental health issues within their lifetime.
The stigma is generated by ignorance and in some ways can be more harmful than the depression itself. Recognizing symptoms of depression and seeking help is a way of showing strength and owning your illness.
The media is a familiar contributor to the stigma of mental health and often links stories to someones mental health. Remember you are not that person and the media sensationalizes stories to get readers. Also, remember we are unique and mental health issues affect us all in many different ways.
To talk about mental health to a person face to face can often seem daunting, but there are many ways to find help. If you feel in crisis it is important to speak to someone sooner rather and later. Call the emergency services, they are there to help and will take care of you and assess you and your mental health. Depending on how unwell you are you may have to stay in a hospital.
If you have close friends you can consider talking to them, you will be surprised how much of a relief it is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. You may also find out that you’re not alone with your illness and others around you suffer too.
This may be a big step, but speaking to your doctor is a way to gain help and also access to other services such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapies and talking therapy.
Search the internet, this may not be easy especially if you are having rapid thoughts. But searching the term ‘mental health help’ will give you a list of many charities around the world that can give you all the information you need. Sometimes finding out more about your illness empowers you to talk to others about it.
One thing I would like to mention and will talk about in depth in further articles is self-medicating with alcohol or recreational drugs. Many people think it will help them, unfortunately, is not the case and can exacerbate your symptoms and make you become more reckless or paranoid. Alcohol is a known depressive and many recreational drugs are known to cause and often make mental illnesses worse.
We Are All Unique
This article covers the most common ways of recognizing depression symptoms. But of course we are all very different and symptoms can be unique to each person. You may only recognize a few of the symptoms mentioned here but it is still equally important to talk to others about them.
There may also be other symptoms that are not covered here if you have had other symptoms please consider sharing them below.
Remember it is always good to talk to others and by sharing your own thoughts and experiences you may help others too.