We all get sad sometimes and it is natural to feel that way, as life isn’t always a box of chocolates, to quote a famous movie character. But the thin line between sadness and depression is so thin sometimes, that even people suffering from it don’t usually realize that there is something wrong. And while sadness is a functional emotion, still letting people to act and adjust to situations and even overcome the general down mood, depression is an incapacitating disorder, having the ability to change completely a person’s way and quality of life, often leading to more serious problems. Major depression is an issue many psychology and psychiatry schools and specialists treat in the most serious manner. And if you feel sad and in the mood for nothing, while your daily routine has visibly changed and your friends began to ask you what’s wrong, then look up on these signs and find out if you need to take some countermeasures very fast. Take into account the intensity of the symptoms (which can vary individually) and most importantly, the time-span of their presence, as specialists say a clinical depression episode becomes an issue to worry and ask help for if it lasts for longer than two weeks constantly.
1. A general feeling of sadness, lack of mood and emptiness
This is a persistent feeling, often associated with anxiety and a tendency towards guilt and blaming the self for not being good enough. Depression doesn’t happen without an external trigger, so the person having this symptoms usually associates that external factor (a fight with the boss, a break-up, a professional or personal failure, the loss of someone close, etc.) with his or her lack of being more strong, or smarter or worthy.
2. The lack of perspective
This attitude is intimately linked to the overall feeling of self-blame or the blame placed on the external environment. If a person begins to consider that life as a whole is cruel and unfair and there is nothing good about it, then this lack of perspective can become overwhelming. Also, the same happens if the person places the blame on internal, personal factors. Low self – esteem and self – loathing are two signs that depression will turn out to get serious if not correct treatment is followed.
3. Irritability, insomnia, emotional instability
You know there is something wrong when your sleep function begins to get disturbed. People with depression start to lack the capacity to relax or to be patient, they’re anxious, restless and can’t get a good rest. Insomnia is a very serious issue, depressed people manifesting it either not being able to fall asleep, as their minds runs around the same incapacitating thoughts, or sleeping for unusual long periods of time, waking up tired, sometimes groggy and even more down.
Crying is a natural mechanism to relieve pressure, tension and negative emotions. It is our brain’s escape and a functional method for humans to express and let go of sadness. What depression is concerned, crying overcomes its natural functionality, depressed people having the tendency to cry very often, without a tangible close, almost out of anything. If episodes of cry register on a daily basis and, more serious, a few times a day, then treatment should be immediately asked for.
5. Low ability to make decisions
This general state of anxiety, restlessness, feeling almost like a tiger in a small cage or like a dying man evidently affects a person’s ability to make rational judgements, solving problems or taking decisions. Depression is not only a powerful negative set of emotions, but mostly a state of mind and a cognitive dysfunction. Too caught up in ruminating the same negative thoughts, people with depression lose their ability to use reason, to focus or to pay attention to their daily tasks and details, even if they’re professional or personal ones. This lack of concentration may lead to mistakes and making those visible mistakes it will confirm a depressed person’s belief that it is worthless, thus deepening the depression. It is a vicious circle and it can’t be stopped without professional help.
6. Not having fun anymore
If the above described symptoms exist and persist, in time, a person will also lose the capacity of enjoying things that otherwise provided fun and entertainment. This is more like a very visual and powerful message for that person’s environment and social group. Friends and family should notice if one person slowly but constantly refuses to go out, to engage in activities that were part of his way of life, of not wanting to see people or refusing to take part to new activities. Depression is often associated with a social distance and isolation and if this occurs, it is a sign that things are wrong. Libido also decreases significantly and this too is a sign for the partner that the depressed person should begin treatment.
7. Lack of energy, tiredness
Depression, as any other emotional disorder, comes together with a great number of physical problems. Some of them are usually ignored, especially if a person ignores the depression itself, finding a rational reason for everything that happens. To be tired and on low battery is not uncommon and taken separately doesn’t need to be therapeutically assessed, or at least not in the same manner depression should be. In depressed people, the other symptoms associate and this lack of energy, combined with insomnia and an overall feeling of sadness should be enough to concern a person.
8. Lack or boost of appetite
The body functions as a unitary mechanism and the brain directs it as best as it can. While feeling down, being anxious and having sleep issues, a person might experience a full change in the eating habits too. The “I can’t eat, I can’t sleep” scenario is not just a sad song’s chorus lyrics, it becomes a general flaw in one person’s quality of life. We all experience periods of time when we don’t feel much like eating or eat a little bit too much, but in association with the other main symptoms, the appetite disorder is a good sign that something is wrong.
9. Physical disorders that can’t be associated with another illness
Depression is a very pervert disorder, as it insinuates itself not only on emotions, mood and train of thoughts, but also has a significant and obvious physical expression. The main symptoms frequently associated with depression are headaches or even persistent migraines, muscular and bone pains and digestive issues. The differential diagnosis for these symptoms to be or not to be associated with depression (and thus treated separately as physical health issues) consists in the failure of physical treatment. Even if a person went to the doctor and followed a prescription for either health issues and those issues don’t disappear as a normal treatment consequence, then the real problem should be looked elsewhere. The associated consumption of alcohol, pills or drugs is also a sign of depression but sometimes may be a trigger for the other physical problems to appear.
10. Morbid thinking
Depression is sometimes associated with thoughts about death and dying and even suicide, in the worst and most serious of situations. Very often people who face the darkest side of depression begin to use alcohol, drugs or pills. These combinations may turn out to be fatal if not immediately addressed. The morbid thinking has a lot to do with the low self esteem, the feeling of emptiness, disappointment, lack of trust in the future, lack of hope and low brain functions. There is always a risk of suicide, no matter how high or how low and there is always a risk that person will engage in self-destructive behavior. These are also visible, powerful signs for the social group and the family and they certify that things got very serious, depression can not be ignored and specialized treatment is of the essence.