As someone who has struggled with depression since I was six years old, and obtained a bachelors and masters degree pertaining to mental health, I know a thing or two about when someone starts hurting and they don’t know why. Depression is a scary and overwhelming illness to deal with, especially when you don’t realize what’s going on. Even though it is one of the most common mental illnesses out there, it’s also one of the most dangerous. This is why it’s so important to recognize your symptoms as quickly as possible. Once you recognize the symptoms, please call and get professional help scheduled. In no way should this post be used as a way to self-diagnose any depression that you may be suffering from.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), depression is defined as a serious mental health condition that is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. Depression is a terrible illness that millions suffer from every single year. A few years ago, I was hospitalized twice for being suicidal. All the signs I’ve listed below are ones that I have personally dealt with and still do at times.
*Some of this may be triggering to your own symptoms, please read at your own discretion.
If you feel the need to talk to someone, utilize the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text HOME to 741 741.
1. You’ve lost interest in doing things you used to enjoy
Have you notice that the things you used to do don’t bring you joy anymore? Or that it’s almost a chore to do them? Maybe it just feels easier and more appealing to just sit there and do nothing. Sometimes that’s okay, but if it’s happening more frequently, this is definitely something you may want to keep an eye on.
2. You are filled with an overwhelming sadness inside
This one pretty much speaks for itself. It feels like you just want to give up and have no energy or joy for anything in life anymore. This sadness comes with feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, numbness, and more. Your entire body just feels like it is drowning in a sea of sadness and you can’t seem to come up for air. It’s not like feeling sad when something doesn’t go your way, you feel this sadness in every part of your body. Your limbs become heavier, your heart becomes more fragile, your mind becomes aloof. You’re so sad that you just don’t care about what happens to you.
3. You can’t bring yourself to do even the simplest tasks
Showering, making your bed, changing your clothes, eating, or even brushing your teeth. All of these minuscule everyday tasks seem nearly impossible and are completely overwhelming.
4. You find yourself struggling to focus on anything
Sometimes you might feel spacey or that your mind just can’t stay focused on anything. You aren’t necessarily thinking about a bunch of other things, you just can’t keep your mind focused on the task at hand. This happens every once in a while when you find a task boring or just have no interest at all in what you’re doing, but when it starts to happen more and more about even things you are interested in, you might be suffering from depression. When staring at a wall sounds more appealing than watching your favorite movie or going out with friends, paired with sadness, that is a reason for concern.
5. You’re eating a lot more or hardly at all
If you notice a severe change in your appetite, this could be a symptom of your depression. Most people either turn to eating to compensate and hope the food makes them feel better or completely lose all desire to eat anything at all. When I was in the deepest part of my depression, I would go days without eating. My stomach would never growl, I never felt hungry, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat.
If you are struggling with having no desire to eat, you need to force yourself to eat some sort of sustenance. Even if it makes you sick, you will have consequences much worse if you continue to eat only when you’re hungry.
6. You just want to stay in bed all day and you have trouble with sleeping
When I say this, I don’t mean being lazy in bed and scrolling social media all day on your phone and watching Netflix. You don’t even have the energy to do that. You just have enough energy to lay there, curled up, staring at the wall with nothing in particular on your mind. Instead, you are just drowning in overwhelming sadness that hurts so deep in your chest that you can’t bring yourself to move.
When it comes to sleeping, it can mean either insomnia or sleeping all day long. You could be constantly tired and find yourself needing a nap after sleeping for 12 hours already. Sometimes you might just not be able to sleep at all.
7. You’re isolating yourself from friends and family
Have you noticed lately that you’re backing out of plans more often? When your friends and family try to talk to you, are you quick to irritate or upset? Isolating yourself can be done in many ways. The most common ones are to push them away by getting angry at them, to cut off communication with them, or to no longer spend time with any of them. Nothing in the world sounds worse to you right now than to try and put on a face for your loved ones and be forced to fake happiness and enjoyment, right?
8. You stopped putting forth effort into your work, relationships, or school
This sort of goes with the previous sign. It’s pretty self explanatory. When you start feeling down and depressed, your efforts towards extrinsic things in your life fall to the wayside. This can include anything from work, relationships, school, hobbies, sports, chores, etc. You suddenly have no motivation to work towards these things you once worked hard for.
9. You don’t care to put much effort into your appearance anymore
Have you stopped putting on makeup? What about those clothes? When is the last time you changed them? Maybe you stopped showering, shaving, and/or grooming. Whatever the matter, when you’re dealing with depression, many days you lack the effort to try and get ready. You see you’re starting to let yourself go.
10. You’ve started having intrusive thoughts
This one is more serious. Intrusive thoughts are ones such as:
- I am worthless
- I don’t deserve to be here
- Everyone would be better off without me
- I just want to disappear and never come back
- I hate myself
- My life is pointless
- I just wish I wasn’t alive
These thoughts are ones that should be pushing you to get professional help. This means that your depression is getting more serious than you’ve realized and it’s time to take the next step in moving forward.
11. You just want to cry and don’t understand why
Sometimes you just feel so overwhelmed and you don’t know why. You break down in tears some days because the pain in your heart is just too much and you don’t know how much more of it you can take. Sometimes life just sucks and you need to cry and that’s okay. Even if nothing is going on, it’s still okay to break down. How often have you been crying though? If you notice it’s happening multiple times a week, it might be because you’re suffering from depression instead of dealing with a tough situation.
12. You’re quick to anger or irritate
This is one that many don’t realize is a symptom of depression. I, myself, am very quick to irritate or anger when I am struggling with a depressive episode. I’ll be the first to admit it. It’s over little things too. You know, how Trent left his dish in the sink or something like that. Events that normally wouldn’t make you upset are causing you to spiral and make something out of it.
13. You start dissociating more
The best way to describe dissociating is when all of a sudden you’re pulling into the driveway and you don’t remember how you got home. Everyone does it, but if you’re starting to just stare into space and your mind goes blank, you find yourself zoning out during conversations or your favorite shows and activities, or you find yourself completely unable to remember parts of your day, you might be dealing with dissociation. If you notice this happening more, start jotting it down when you come back to reality.
14. You feel like there is a weight on your chest that never goes away
This one sucks. Your whole body feels heavy, but the weight on your chest and shoulders makes you feel like you’re drowning and can’t come back up for air. The mental and physical pain this weight causes is one like no physical injury or illness could compare to. Unless you’ve felt it for yourself, it’s really hard to describe. I just tell Trent that “my heart hurts”, and that’s how he knows that I’m struggling with my depression that day.
There are many other signs and symptoms of depression, but these are ones that are pretty easy to identify in yourself. Are there any that I missed that made you realize your depression was getting worse? Let me know below in the comments!