Depression affects many people and it can be debilitating. That said, plenty of us are oblivious to the feelings of sadness that we have – which can sometimes be dismissed as “nothing.” Some of us refuse to believe or accept what we may be going through. Unfortunately, denial does not help or cure depression. If anything, denial can make it a lot harder to deal with depression once you are ready to face it. Even though no two cases are exactly the same, there are some common factors to look out for when it comes to depression.
Symptoms Can Vary
Depression can be different for each individual and the symptoms can vary from person to person. One person may feel very low, have a loss of appetite, poor concentration and struggle to sleep. Someone else might feel ok and not appear to have a low mood but can’t be bothered to do anything anymore. This person is sleeping more than usual but yet still feels fatigued and also pretty hopeless. Even though the symptoms between these two people vary, these are all signs that can indicate depression. Depression severity can also fluctuate from one person to another. It can be easy to miss depression if symptoms are ‘milder.’
This is possibly the most obvious sign of depression. It’s common for someone who is depressed to suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. They may also feel like they are to blame for many things that are likely out of their control, and they can be judgmental and self-critical. Low mood may also be more common in the morning; this is known as diurnal variation.
Depression May Come About Gradually
Symptoms related to depression may not be noticeable right away, as they may develop daily or over several weeks. It is sometimes hard to notice small changes that affect energy level and mood. Sometimes it’s not until we stop to really evaluate ourselves, that we realize things have changed and that we aren’t the same person we used to be.
Fatigue and Insomnia
Sleep disturbances and disrupted sleep patterns are common with depression. Being awake is usually the issue but fatigue can also cause oversleeping. Many find it hard to fall asleep, and then when they finally do, they find themselves waking in the early hours and then not being able to go back to sleep again.
Lack of Enjoyment / Interest in Things
This is a very common symptom among depression sufferers and is known as Anhedonia. This basically means you no longer enjoy doing the things you once enjoyed and find it difficult to ”make an effort” as you feel flat. These feelings can affect relationships with others and can leave you feeling isolated. With depression, you often want to avoid being around other people and want to spend your time home alone.
Aches and Pains
Depression can increase sensitivity to pain. This means that you end up with aches and pains that cannot be explained and are resistant to treatment. Pain can be related to how you are feeling psychologically and this can cause the sense of pain to be heightened.
The “disease” of depression still has a stigma attached to it and consequently many of us feel that depression is a sign of failure or weakness. For this reason, a large number of people wouldn’t want to admit to having depression. We may try to rationalize how we are feeling instead of admitting we’re depressed.
Lack of Appetite
Some people who have depression lose their appetite or may overeat as a way of trying to soothe their pain i.e. comfort eat.
When you suffer from depression, you may find it hard to remember and/or recall things. You can struggle to think beyond anything that is considered to be general knowledge. This can influence problem-solving.
Another side effect of anhedonia is a reduced libido. If you feel that everything around you is going wrong, then you may also feel that your relationship is deteriorating and this can impact attraction to your partner as well as your own sense of sexual attraction to your partner .Another factor impacting depression may be hormonal changes, so there is also a biological element involved as well.
Symptom Development Times
Symptoms related to depression may develop at different times. One week may involve a specific symptom enumerated above and the next week there may be a different symptom emerging. We may not think that these symptoms are linked in any way and may not realize that they are the result of this one condition. No doubt, it would be easier to identify depression if all the symptoms came at once and they were the same for every person.
Facing the Depression Will Help
There are at least two benefits in facing your depression head-on : Firstly, because depression can have an impact on all aspects of our lives i.e. feeling low, poor concentration, isolation, sleeping issues, etc., life can feel like it’s not much fun anymore. If we can group all these symptoms together and see that the reason for them has a name and is a known condition – then things can begin to feel more manageable. You are not trying to manage ten different issues but rather have just have one issue to deal with,.
Secondly, once you have identified depression as the culprit of your malaise and can treat it. If your depression falls into the mild or moderate category, it can sometimes be managed without professional help. If it is more moderate to severe, and professional help is needed, there are many different types of treatment available to you. As with many things in life, once you know what you are dealing with, you’re already halfway through the battle.