Depression Symptoms – Are You Depressed?
There’s a lot more to depression than just feeling blue or down. Believe it or not, depression can manifest itself in physical ways that can cause pain and fatigue. You might be feeling tired all of the time and not realize that physically you’re fine, but you are suffering from depression.
When depression begins it starts out with a subtle change in mood. You might find that activities that you enjoyed suddenly become less appealing. If you previously enjoyed a daily bike ride, you may find that you make excuses not to ride and would prefer to just lie down and watch TV. It begins to zap your energy and your desire to engage in physical activities. To further complicate things, exercise and physical activity are one of the best ways to ward off the illness. When we are physically active, our bodies release endorphins, which contribute to improve our mood and overall sense of well-being. The more we fail to stay active, the worse the depression gets.
Most Common Symptoms of Depression:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue / decreased energy
- Anxiety or sadness
- Aches or pains headaches or digestive problems
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy
- Restlessness or Irritability
- Feeling hopeless or guilty
- Excessive sleep or insomnia
- Thoughts of suicide =>> Please seek help immediately!
You may find that you start to experience aches and pains that seem to come out of nowhere. Muscle pain and headaches as well as digestive issues begin to take a further toll on your mood. If you’re feeling sore and achy and have no energy, again, you’re not likely to want to engage in anything beyond a nice nap. This begins to further perpetuate the depression cycle. Muscle soreness, headaches and stomach upset can all have an emotional cause. Your physical well being is directly tied into your overall mental health. When you are emotionally distraught, your body tells you something’s amiss through physical symptoms.
A change in your sleep patterns is one of the most common depression symptoms. Either sleeping more than normal or not getting enough sleep could be a signal that something’s not right. If you have ruled out a physical condition that could be causing this change, then depression might be creeping up on you. This can be a “which came first” situation as sometimes inadequate rest can lead to depression. You might want to rule out potential environmental causes first that could be contributing to your sleep disturbance. Make sure that you’re going to bed at the same time every evening and avoid caffeine consumption in the hours before bedtime.
Lack Of Energy
Overall fatigue or lack of energy usually goes hand in hand with disrupted sleep patterns. Both not getting enough sleep and sleeping too much can make you feel tired and lethargic. When you feel tired, you’re less likely to want to get out and be active which further contributes to the depression. As in the case of disrupted sleep, make sure you’re getting enough rest and avoiding foods and beverages that might be keeping you up at night.
Feelings of worthlessness can become overwhelming and undermine your overall sense of self worth. Many will take one failure or unsuccessful attempt at something and define themselves by this success or failure. If you take this as a negative reflection of yourself you can begin to create a sense of depression.
Everyone likes to think they have value and when you believe that you will never amount to anything and that you have nothing to contribute, you begin to chip away at your self-esteem. This loss of self-esteem is often the cornerstone of depression. Remind yourself that all successful people have failed at something and often more than once. It’s those that keep trying that will ultimately get where they want to be.
Lack Of Concentration
If you find that you have a hard time focusing and making key decisions, you might want to pay attention. Sometimes it could just be stress or being distracted by things going on in your life. If you can’t attribute this lack of focus to something specific, you might want to ask yourself if you’ve noticed any other changes in your mood or disposition. Lack of concentration by itself is not usually one of the depression symptoms, however when present with other symptoms, it helps to solidify a depression diagnosis.
Change In Appetite
A sudden change in appetite, either by eating more or eating less could also signal that you could be in trouble. In the case of eating more, you could be using food as a mood lifter and a way to self medicate. This could lead to excessive weight gain and all of he health problems that go with it. Conversely, if you’re finding that you’re not eating much, you could be too preoccupied with other issues in your life that are preventing you from eating a balanced diet.
Typically when we’re dealing with stress or other negative influences in our lives, our appetite will decrease and we ill begin to lose weight. Weight loss isn’t a bad thing unless it happens rapidly and we were over weight to begin with. Sudden weight loss due to a decrease in appetite can be just as damaging to your health as rapid weight gain.
Anxiety & Restlessness
An overall feeling of restlessness with an inability to relax could be caused by underlying emotional issues that aren’t being addressed. Something may be bothering you that you don’t realize and you might need help getting to the source of the problem. Being fidgety and easily bored is often one of the depression symptoms. In these cases it can often segue into an addiction as a way to fill a void that the depressed person might be filling. They will often shop unnecessarily or become addicted to a substance to get that temporary “high” to relieve the boredom.
Once the high wears off, they are left with the same feeling that prompted them to engage in the behavior in the first place. Feeling as though you are missing something that you need will make you restless and anxious. If you are having trouble relaxing, you will want to address what’s missing to avoid a spiral into addictive behavior.
One of the most dangerous aspects of depression is when it leads to thoughts of death or suicide. People who are depressed to this point often fantasize about how their family would react and what their funeral would be like. As the depression progresses, they begin to map out the manner of their death and who would find them. When you start to fantasize about suicide this clearly, these are clear warnings that you need help and you need it right away.
No matter how badly you feel or how much you think those around you won’t care, you need to talk to someone that will help you gain perspective on your situation and to realize that it’s not nearly as hopeless as it might seem. Although taking your own life may seem like the only solution, it’s only because you feel hopeless and trapped and a trained professional can help you see your way out of it.
Depression Symptoms Summary
Having one particular symptom doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. However, if you recognize yourself in several of the symptoms, it might be time to do something about it. You don’t have to tolerate depression and just accept that this is the way it is. Many who have been depressed have gone on to overcome it and live happy healthy lives.