Did you know that more than 250 million people worldwide suffer from depression? Did you also know that about 2/3 of the cases are left undiagnosed and therefore go untreated?
Depression is one of the most prevalent human afflictions, but it rarely gets the attention it deserves. Common misconceptions have depression being reduced to mild transient states. States like feeling the blues, feeling sad, gloomy, downcast or disgruntled.
Chronic depression is noticeably more significant than these watered down “mood swings”. This is mostly due to the depth and duration of the mood changes as well as due to the extent of their effects on normal day to day functioning.
No, You are not “Fine”
In a world where we feel the pressure to be (or pretend to be) happier than we actually are, depressed people are good at convincing others that they are “fine”.
It is safe to say that they have mastered the art of deception. What with their sparkling starry skies, golden sunsets and beautiful northern lights. But nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, pregnant clouds, thunderbolts and lightning strikes dominate their skies.
This article discusses the concealed yet noticeable signs and symptoms that will help you know if you have depression.
Feelings of Hopelessness and Worthlessness
Feelings of disgrace, worthlessness and undeserving of love are a common package in depression. These feelings constantly lead you into a dark wormhole of sadness, loneliness and self-pity.
You might feel shame or guilt, far in excess of anything that’s reasonable. They also tend to leave you with a hopeless outlook in life and a notion of pessimism, hopelessness and worthlessness.
Whilst this feelings are dreadfully convincing and seductive, they are false and inaccurate.
When you’re depressed, you are prone to anxiety, nervousness and irritability. These symptoms can manifest themselves through dreaded fear, panic and paranoia.
Without realizing it, you may selectively ignore good news and discount anything positive and helpful. Instead, you’re inclined to focus on things that are potentially gloomy and discouraging.
This can cause problems at work, home or with cultivated relationships.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Owing to the unshakable dark feelings; you might turn to drugs and alcohol as a scapegoat. These toxic substances are used to drown the uncontrolled negative voices in your head.
Alcoholism and drug addiction affects our mental and physical health. The intoxication that comes with affects your ability to make healthy decisions. This in turn leads to a debilitating and life-threatening existence.
Change in appetite and diet
When you are depressed, you will have a propensity to “eat your feelings”, or alternatively choose to “starve them”. The sudden change in diet leads to bigger problems such as obesity as one turns to food as a coping mechanism.
On the other hand, stress can cause poor eating habits that lead to weight loss. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia are as a result of depression.
Both extreme lifestyles can lead to physical illnesses as well as low self-esteem.
Research shows that there is a definite link between lack of sleep and depression.
You may experience insomnia – a sleep disorder that affects our quality of sleep. It involves restless nights that last for long periods of time, thus making it chronic. This physical, emotional and psychological battle can be caused by stress, anxiety or past trauma.
Some symptoms of depression may swing in either direction. You may have insomnia or sleep excessively without feeling refreshed.
Hypersomnia or long sleeping is getting too much sleep regularly; more than 9 hours a night, which is more than your body needs. Oversleeping can be symptomatic of depression; it leaves you feeling lethargic, lazy and unmotivated.
Diminished Interest and Enjoyment of Things That Please You
Depression is the inability to enjoy what you naturally love and what brings you joy. Fun activities; painting, travelling, good company and even lovemaking may suddenly feel tedious and boring.
This happens when you start adapting a sedentary lifestyle. This poor lifestyle behaviors are as a result of stress and anxiety. They cause a decrease in energy levels and they significantly impair your ability to function normally.
People with suicidal thoughts mostly seem happy and put together on the outside. But it’s the ticking time bomb thoughts that pushes them to their early grave.
At this stage, you might change how you perceive the world. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness begin to cloud your mind. Hopelessness causes you to seek redemption in the afterlife, hence ending your life in an untimely fashion.
This however, should not be the case. Out of the millions of people who suffer from depression, many fight it and come out victorious. You can be among them.
There is no shame in seeking help when you feel overwhelmed. Being depressed is no more your fault than having the flu is.
Friends, families and individuals must all take responsibility to ensure depressed people get professional help. Efficient drug treatment and psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy are effective ways to deal with depression. Please reveal all aspects of how you feel, including suicidal thoughts where they are present, in order to facilitate effective treatment.
And remember; vulnerability is not weakness, it’s the greatest measure of courage.