More often than not, depression is associated with unhappiness. But the reality is that, it really isn’t that simple. Not that depressed people are not unhappy, but there is more to it than that. How many times have you heard a dramatic friend of yours say “I’m so depressed right now!” Do you believe that depression is simple enough to happen to everyone for the silliest of reasons? If one got depressed every time they got a B on their test or had a fight with their friends, depression would not be an issue. It would just be a mood.
If you look into the precise definition of depression, it is a prolonged and persistent period of despondency. It has associated with it, a nagging sense of dejection and pessimism about anything and everything. Hopelessness and despair are what go hand in hand with depression. In order to treat depression, physicians prescribe various antidepressants or other physical changes and care based on gender, age, culture and personality.
Depression has more to it than spurts of bad mood. Depression is numbing; it is the will to not carry on; it is being miserable for no apparent reason; it is an abyss. The hundreds of people who apparently “feel depressed” every now and then and are extremely vocal about it are perhaps not really depressed. Depression is not to be taken lightly and it is actually not as easy to recognise. But, there are a few symptoms that act as identifiers for depression.
Fatigue is commonplace in our hectic daily regime. However, long lasting lethargy accompanied by lack of motivation or enthusiasm regarding anything at all might be a reason to worry. This is often characterised by a persistent low mood. Although, this is not a major symptom of depression, usually this can be seen in the early stages of depression. The sooner you diagnose it and start treating it, the easier it is for you to defeat it.
- Getting too much sleep
An average human being requires a maximum of 8 hours of sleep in a day. Even if you are suffering from depression, you do not require any more sleep than an average human being. However, it is often seen that a depressed person tends to sleep a lot. Sleeping way too much is a common symptom of depression. This perhaps arises from the lack of motivation to face the day or the real world. Specially, if you wake up after a long sleep in a bad or low mood, it indicates depression.
Contrary to the previous symptom, sleeplessness is also a sign of depression. Just like too much of sleep is not good, lack of it is equally commonplace and harmful. Keep an eye out for disturbances in your sleep schedule without any external trigger. If you are experiencing long periods of insomnia for no explainable reason, you might want to see a doctor.
- Appetite changes
We all tend to either overeat or not eat at all when we are upset. It is not necessarily a case of depressive episode. However, when this overeating or lack of appetite is prolonged and/ or associated with other symptoms of depression such as losing interest in everything, not willing to perform regular activities or consistent fatigue, then it is a cause for concern. Usually, depression is characterized by rapid weight gain or loss.
- Everything appears dull
Now, this is a serious symptom of depression. Colours around you become less vivid and the world seems dull. Same goes for music. Melody doesn’t sound melodious anymore. Basically everything around seems dull and dim.
- Physical pain
Depression is often characterized by actual, physical pain. It might just be back aches due to spending long hours at your desk which is not something to worry about. However, aches that appear due to no apparent reason and can’t be treated by the usual methods might be a sign of depressive episode. Headaches that just don’t go away and unexplainable abdominal pain are the most common symptoms.
- Worn out
Getting too worked out while on the job is one of the most probable symptoms indicating depression. Depressed people often get overworked and extremely stressed out at work. Although it is natural to get stressed out while working on a comparatively difficult and exasperating assignment, but if this burnout feeling lasts for too long and for no good reason, it is definitely a symptom of depression.
- Memory loss and concentration loss
Getting distracted easily, not being able to concentrate on work or conversations or anything for that matter is a problem. Usually, people suffering from depression also experience difficulty in remembering things. And it keeps getting worse with time. Also, it becomes harder to make decisions or have an opinion in such a situation. Depression does comprise some sort of cognitive impairment as a sign.
- Social withdrawal
People who are depressed dislike company. They feel comfortable on their own and prefer seclusion. Social withdrawal happens to be the most important symptom of depression. Depressed people isolate themselves and try to stay away from the usual activities in life and regular social interactions. And nothing can be more dangerous! If a depressed person starts getting suicidal thoughts, which depression often does to people, they would be alone and no one would to able to detect or help them out of such suicidal ideas. Suicidal people are often just looking for some sign that they shouldn’t go forward with it. They just need someone to tell them they are loved and needed. However, staying isolated from everyone would make your suicidal thoughts go unnoticed and that can be seriously dangerous!
- Incessant unhappiness
Feeling sad is not synonymous with being depressed, as most people often think. Sadness can be called depression on the basis of 3 things as follows: duration, intensity, cause. Usually, it is the lack of a cause that makes depression what it is. Lingering unhappiness for no apparent cause or any particular trigger are crucial identifiers for depression. So, never be quick to judge depression based on petty mood swings. Depression is a lot more serious than you think!
If you are one of the millions of people suffering from depression, you already know what it is all about and don’t really need me to preach to you anything. But in case you are struggling to read yourself, you can make use of the given pointers. Depression is not a condition to be taken lightly. Managing the various symptoms of depression with the help of therapy and prescribed medication is crucial to feeling better and getting out of the abyss that is depression.
Recognising depression at its early stages is half the battle. Once you identify it early, you can take the necessary steps to deal with it and treat it before it gets worse. Depression is not always easy to detect. So, keep a close eye on yourself. No matter how strongly you feel that it’s gonna be okay, don’t take any chances and get help before it is too late.