Everyone has “blue moods”, it’s a normal part of life, sometimes you get hit with bad news, like the loss of a loved one or getting laid of from a job, even something as simple as friends cancelling on plans they have made with you may trigger it. Being sad is a natural part of life, this type of depression is referred to as Situational Depression, most people recover from this in a few days or weeks.
However, it becomes Clinical Depression when the symptoms don’t go away even after several months. The symptoms are often so severe that they inhibit people from living a normal life, it’s important that you know the signs of Clinical Depression so that you can seek help when the signs appear.
The symptoms can often be overwhelming, a lot of people suffering from it often refer to depression as a pit of darkness, hoplessness and despair. You can feel so hopeless and apathetic that you stop even caring about yourself, often skipping basic self care routines such as eating or showering, many people suffering from depression often overlseep, some may even skip out on as much sleep as possible, others will fill a void in their life with hobbies such as watching tv or playing video games so as to distract themselves from the realities of life.
Some of the more common symptoms may include:
You may find yourself crying for no reason, you might feel hopless and empty and unable to control your negative thoughts. Everything you try to do to combat it just leaves you feeling empty, as if you’re at a buffet eating as much as you can yet never feeling satiated.
You may be overly self critical, maybe you don’t even feel like you deserve to be depressed. It’s possible to be in a wonderful place in life in terms of your family, finances or anything else yet still feel depressed, maybe worthless and hopless and you’re not even sure why.
You may find yourself having issues controlling your emotions and swinging between anger and sadness seemingly for no reason at all. Particularly men who are depressed tend to make much more reckless and impulsive decisions or act out in displays of anger.
If you’ve been experiencing increased episodes where you have difficulties concentrating, making decisions or remembering simple things this could also be a symptom of depression. People with depression often describe it as though their thought process has been slowed down.
You may be experiencing more random aches and pains, you might have just stayed in all day yesterday (though we recommend against this) yet woke up with inexplicable muscle aches in your thighs today. Maybe you keep getting headaches even though you’re making sure you stay hydrated.
Loss of Energy
When you’re suffering from depression you may feel like you have no energy, you might struggle to get out of bed before midday on yyour days off, probably with a reason not too disimilar from “I have nothing to do today anyway”.
Loss of Interest
Many sufferers of depression lose interest in things they once enjoyed thoroughly, you might have stopped going to your gym or perhaps you start getting messages from your friends asking why they havn’t seen you out for a while, perhaps you used to enjoy going for 5am jogs before work but you “just don’t have the energy or motivation” anymore. This may also manifest itself in how you look after yourself, such as showering less or not eating as healthy as you used to.
One of the biggest symptoms of depression is a change in your sleep habits, whether you’re going to bed later than you used to, or struggling to actually get any meaningful rest once you do, or just simply sleeping too much. If you’re having trouble sleeping it may be that you need to review your Sleep Hygiene habits.
Some individuals compensate for their low mood by overeating, others just don’t have the motivation to prepare meals anymore opting instead to grab something quick and easy from the snack aisle of the local shop. Either way it’s important to take note of any large swings in body weight, if you lose or gain more than 5% of your bodyweight in a single month this could be a major warning sign for depression and it’s important to evaluate if this is maybe just because you ate out a little to much on that recent holiday or if it’s because of lifestyle changes you’ve made without realosing that need to be reviewed.
Having suicidal thoughts is a red flag regardless of the reason and should always be followed up by speaking to your family and friends or a healthcare professional. If you’re having suicidal thoughts but don’t know who you can turn to, you can find a list of free professionals to help Here.
If you’ve experienced any combination of the above symptoms for more than a few weeks you should speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible (immediately if you’ve had thoughts of suicide). The best place to start is your Doctor. It is estimated that depression affects more than 19.7% of adults in the UK.
It’s important to remember that suffering from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety is not a reason to feel ashamed – it is a serious illness. It’s important to note that in the overwhelming majority of cases depression is very easily treated and catching it as early as possible makes it that much easier to get back on track so if you think you are suffering from mental illness, speak to your Doctor as soon as possible, even if it’s only to discuss some concerns you might have.