Mental illness has a long history of stigma but we seem to be making some progress in this area. More and more people are reporting lately that they are dealing with depression or anxiety. The most common description of this disease would be ‘living in a black hole’.
Depression can take many forms as we are very complex and diverse as individuals. However, there are some common symptoms that people experience. A first important element of depression is that it’s not mere sadness. We all have our emotional ups and downs and this is natural.
But if you feel you’ve had most of the following symptoms for more than two weeks, maybe it would be best to reach out for help.
1. Feeling helplessness and hopelessness
This is one of the major signs of depression: the thought that nothing will ever get better in your life. You have a bleak future outlook and can’t find things to look forward to anymore.
2. Loss of interests in activities you once liked
This is another alarm signal. If you feel you used to enjoy movies or tennis for example, but not at all lately, then something might be up. This symptom may make you feel like you’re losing your sense of identity.
3. Significant weight gain or weight loss
If this is accompanied by any of the other symptoms, chances are you are dealing with depression. Unless there is another explanation for the weight changes.
4. Insomnia or extreme sleepiness
When you’re depressed, your sleep patterns suffer. There are also studies which claim that depressed people dream 3 times more than those who don’t have this mental illness. You may want to track down any changes in your sleeping patterns.
5. Loss of energy and fatigue
Someone once said that the opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. By vitality, we understand the energy to perform our daily activities the best way we can. When we’re constantly feeling tired and low, our routine will also suffer.
6. Anger or irritability
Depression can make you behave more aggressively, perhaps even towards your friends. It can feel like everything and everyone is getting on your nerves. This ties in to your sleep patterns. If you can’t sleep and therefore rest properly, no wonder you are more irritable during the day.
7. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
There is a lot of self-loathing happening in the mind of a depressed person. They may be blaming themselves from something that happened in the past, something they couldn’t control. They criticize themselves very harshly for minor things and mistakes. Needless to say, ruminating on these things deepens the depression.