Many people are familiar with some of the classic symptoms of depression. These include having a relatively persistent sad or empty mood most days of the week, pessimism, overwhelming feelings of guilt or worthlessness, sleep problems, challenges managing home, work, or social life, and at its worst suicidal ideations or attempts. There are a lot of symptoms that are signs of depression that many people are unfamiliar with. Here are some of the most common ones.
- You’re experiencing fatigue, or a lack of energy. Does it seem like you’re more fatigued than you ought to be, or that normal activities take more effort than they used to? Feeling worn out? This could be a sign of depression.
- Social withdrawal is another sign of depression. Do you notice you’re starting to become more isolated, finding reasons not to see friends and family, or just don’t feel like being around others the way you used to? Isolating thoughts and behaviors are common with depression.
- Problems with concentration and decision making are often signs of depression. If it feels hard to stay on task, sustain effort, or make decisions depression could be the reason.
- Irritability or frequent anger are another sign of depression. For some people, instead of the classic sad or empty mood, some people develop a short fuse, find themselves easily agitated, or experience an increase of rage as a result of depression.
- You’re developing a lot more headaches, backaches, digestive issues, or chronic pain issues that you did not used to have in the past. Depression can present itself in physical symptoms that often get brushed off as another concern.
- It seems like you’ve lost your motivation. This tends to go hand-in-hand with the fatigue and problems with concentration. Depression often saps people’s normal motivation. Some people blame themselves for a “lack of motivation” when really the culprit is depression.
- In contrast to number 6, becoming a workaholic is also a sign of depression. Some people tend to cope by driving themselves into their work. This phenomenon also increases risk of burnout.
- You’re having problems with memory. Depression can affect both short and long-term memory. This can be having problems remembering events of the past, your day-to-day schedule, or an increase in forgetting where you left your keys.
- Increase in substance use. Does your evening beer, wine, pot use seem to be increasing? This often is a sign of depression.
- Your appetite has changes. People with depression often experience appetite changes. Some people have an increase in appetite, others have a decrease. Unexplained changes in eating behavior might be a sign of depression.
Experiencing any of the issues above? Wondering what you can do?
Having any of the symptoms above may be an indicator of depression. The first question to answer is, are the symptoms having a negative impact on any areas of your life, or causing you distress? If no, you may just want to monitor the symptoms and keep track of any changes. If yes, here are some ways to help treat and prevent depression.
- Practice good health behaviors. Getting regular amounts of sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet can go a long ways towards treating mental health issues.
- Get rid of any unnecessary stress. If there are some life stressors that are weighing you down, and you can let go of them, delegate responsibility to someone else, or take care of the issue, you may see a significant improvement in your mental wellness.
- Seek out counseling. Mental health professionals can help you navigate depression and work with you to get to a place of mental wellness.
- Practice relaxation. Invoking the relaxation response activates our parasympathetic nervous system and helps your mindbody recover. Practices like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, reading, writing, taking nature walks, acupuncture, massage, or listening to music are great ways to relax.
- Reconnect with family and friends, and talk to them about what’s going on. We are social creatures, and it’s important to connect with our support systems.
- Check in with your doctor. Depression can often be a side-effect of other health conditions. If you haven’t seen a physical health doctor in a while it may be good to check in.
- Know that being depressed doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. It means you’re having a pretty normal mindbody response to some kind of stress.