Depression is a hot topic word. We hear it from our friends or kids, on social media and in movies. It can look like someone who cannot get out of bed or function or have relationships, but it can also look like your boss or your neighbor or your spouse. Depression has many faces, and often people suffer in silence. So how do you know whether what you are experiencing is depression or whether it is “normal?” (whatever that is, am I right ;). Depression is characterized by more than just sadness. The severity of the sadness and how long it lasts can be a good indicator of whether you are struggling with with something bigger than just being sad. If you recently lost someone close to you it is considered part of the normal grieving process to be sad, have difficulty concentrating, etc… If you lost someone close to you 2 years ago and are still struggling to function then that might be a sign that your grief has morphed into depression. Depression can also have a genetic component, so if your grandma or parent or sibling has struggled with depression that could be an indicator that you might be experiencing something more severe than what other people experience in their day to day life.
So what does depression look like? Below are some signs that your sadness might be more serious and that professional help could be warranted. If you have questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, contact us here.
Life feels heavy. Things that were once easy to brush off now feel debilitating. You feel tired, not just physically but in your soul. It feels like things won’t ever get better, no matter how hard you are trying. This hopelessness can be accompanied by thoughts of hurting yourself, or wishing you could just disappear. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please go to your local emergency room or contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Everyone has fallen victim to spacing out at school or work, but if it’s hard to concentrate on more days than not, something deeper could be going on. If it’s difficult to recall simple facts, if you forget parts of your day, or notice in general that you are having difficulty retaining or recalling information it could be a sign of depression.
Unexplained Physical Discomfort
While depression is a mental illness, it has many physical symptoms. We hold emotional stress in our physical bodies. Unexplained crying spells, headaches, joint pain, backaches, stomach aches and fatigue can all be physical symptoms of depression.
You could also experience excessive hunger or loss of appetite, as well as fatigue, weight gain, or a drastic change in sleeping patterns (sleeping too much or too little).
Disinterest in Former Hobbies
Lack of interest in things that you used to enjoy can be a symptom of depression. Participating in hobbies or social activities now feels like a chore and you would rather stay home alone.
Apathy towards things that used to create joy for you could be a sign that something more serious is going on.
Increased Substance Use
When do you choose to reach for drugs or alcohol? What thought patterns lead you to that decision? If feelings of hopelessness or a desire to numb or escape real life lead to drinking or drug use and you notice it is becoming more frequent, it could be time to seek help.
Feeling Irritable and Moody
Unexplained or increased irritability can be a sign of underlying depression. Feeling easily frustrated, lashing out at those around you, or having a difficult time tolerating frustration can be a signal that you might be struggling with depression.
One of the difficult parts of depression is that you don’t feel like yourself and you are unhappy, but depression makes it difficult to find the motivation to seek help. Take one step at a time. Reading this blog is a good place to start. You are already one step closer to getting the help you need. High five for that.
Contact us to set up a free consultation or a session with one of our highly trained therapists. You do not have to suffer through depression alone. Let us help you take the next step towards getting your life back.