Depression can take over your entire life if it’s left untreated. It can alter your mental state, and even affect you physically. Unfortunately, it is such a common condition for so many people, it often goes undiagnosed because we tend to think it’s just ‘normal.’
Everyone gets sad or has feelings of anxiety from time to time. Depression, on the other hand, can change the way you think about almost everything. That includes yourself, the people around you, and things that happen to you every day. Having a bad day or a bad week isn’t the same as suffering from a depressive disorder.
With that in mind, it’s important to know the warning signs of real depression. If you have consistent and persistent feelings of sadness, or dark thoughts seem to be controlling your life, recognizing some of these symptoms can help you to determine if it’s time to seek out the help of a mental health professional.
A Negative Outlook on Life
No one is always optimistic. Life can bring you down from time to time, but how you react to things and feel about your life in general on a day-to-day basis is important. Depression will usually affect how you feel about life overall. One of the most common symptoms of the disorder is a constant feeling that things are hopeless.
An easier way to think about this particular symptom is by asking yourself how often you blame yourself for things. Asking yourself ‘what’s the point’ frequently can be a big warning sign for this particular mood disorder. Self-hate and worthless feelings toward your own life are huge symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored. When you start to lose hope, depression can become even darker and take over the most rational of thoughts.
A Lack of Energy
Many people who are depressed start to show a lack of interest in things – even things they may have once enjoyed. Oftentimes, this is because they feel easily fatigued and tired. These feelings can become extremely debilitating and start to affect your physical state. It’s why depression is so often linked to excessive sleeping, or resting in bed.
Feelings of hopelessness combined with an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion makes it difficult for someone who is severely depressed to want to do much of anything.
A Sudden Change in Emotions
People in a depressed state typically have a harder time controlling their emotions. They can often change very suddenly, without any real triggers or reasons. One minute you could be sad and crying, the next minute you could be angry. Mood swings are very common within the confines of depression, and they are often uncontrollable by the person dealing with them. It can be a scary and overwhelming feeling, knowing you can’t always keep your own emotions in check.
The Importance of Getting Help
These are just a few of the common symptoms associated with depression. While they tend to affect almost everyone with the disorder, there are dozens of other warning signs to look out for. If you feel as though you have any of these signs, it’s important to seek out help as soon as possible.
You don’t have to feel afraid of this disorder, and you certainly don’t have to feel hopeless. Together, we’ll work on understanding your depression (it’s personal in every instance). We’ll also work together to help you feel more positive. Depression doesn’t have to control your life forever. Getting an official diagnosis, and telling yourself you’re ready to take your life back can make all the difference.
Carolyn Ehrlich LCSW, CGP specializes in Relationship Counseling NYC