Are you suffering from depression?
Then it may be helpful to have a better understanding of the symptoms. Depression can affect people in many different ways as well as, being a factor of their age, gender, personality or character traits and of course their ethnicity or cultural background. Some people may find it difficult to speak about or express the feelings of being depressed and, so, may focus more on the physical symptoms instead.
However, it is important to state, that my experience has been that much depression is self-diagnosed and to a degree, somewhat rhetorical or semantic, as opposed to demonstrating a clinical condition. I do not say this lightly, as I have no doubt there is sincerity in people's description of their condition but there are specific criteria needed to qualify a major depressive disorder, as opposed to the feelings of depression, for example, depression as a result of the loss of a loved one or the break up of a loving relation, losing one's job or home. It is possible for someone to experience this type of loss and have a major depressive disorder concurrently but the symptoms are generally far more severe than either on their own.
A major depressive disorder needs to be professionally diagnosed and also needs professional assistance, not because you are weak or inept but somewhat because depression is either caused by an impaired brain (e.g. lesions, viral, bacterial, injury etc.) or impairs normal brain function and, therefore, either way, your brain is not working in the way it normally could or should and that makes it very difficult for you to treat yourself effectively.
If you have felt down in the dumps, had the blues or felt sad for more than 2 weeks or you have experienced some, maybe most, of the following symptoms, then you are advised to visit a doctor, mental healthcare practitioner, or even myself for an assessment and from there, treatment.
Emotional symptoms of depression include:
- feeling sad, down or empty for most of the day, almost every day
- loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, especially ones that used to give you much pleasure
- becoming withdrawn from friends or family and finding reasons or excuses to avoid them
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt, lack of confidence or low self-esteem
- suicidal thoughts (a useful guide to understanding the risks)
- crying or maybe just tearing, getting choked up for no apparent reason.
- suicidal thoughts or maybe actions towards ending one's life
Physical symptoms of depression include:
- unusually tired, low energy, fatigue or reduced activity
- insomnia or difficulty sleeping, sleeping during the day
- loss of appetite or losing weight quickly without reason
- sleeping longer or more frequently than usual or an increase in your appetite (atypical depression)
- finding it difficult to focus or maintain your concentration,
- difficulty in making decisions and/or remembering things (classic signs of chronic stress too)
- impaired body movements, maybe an increase in involuntary body movement slow thinking or speech
- feeling agitated or having difficulty sitting still, or perhaps finding yourself pacing up and down or hand-wringing
- low libido or lack of interest in your partner, a diminished sex drive erectile dysfunction etc.
- back pain or headaches, remember the Central nervous system includes not only your brain but your spinal column too
- feeling nauseous, generally sick or just plain run down
- digestive problems e.g. constipation, IBS, diarrhoea etc (also classic symptoms of chronic stress).
- feelings leading towards an attempted suicide