For some time now you have been feeling really sad. Not yourself. And you aren’t enjoying your life.
Your friends are telling you that it will pass. To snap out of it. But you are wondering if you can. You are wondering if maybe you are clinically depressed.
There are ways to tell.
1. You can’t get out of bed or off the couch.
How much time do you spend on the couch or in bed? You aren’t necessarily tired, but the prospect of getting up is just too daunting to face. So you stay horizontal all day, watching Netflix and feeling like a loser.
This habit is a significant indicator of depression. People who have been diagnosed with depression tell of the great lengths they go to stay out of bed. Of stripping the sheets, taking the mattress off of the box spring and leaning it against the wall, locking the bedroom door. Whatever it takes to keep them out of bed and wallowing in their depression.
2. You have no interest in the things you love.
Have you lost interest in doing the things that you have always loved?
Does the idea of going to school or seeing friends or going out to dinner just seem like too much to bear?
People who are depressed isolate themselves. The energy that it takes to get out of bed and interact with others is overwhelming. So they don’t.
Ironically, going out and doing the things that you love is a great way to alleviate depression temporarily. Unfortunately, the treatment can often seem too daunting to undertake and so people who are depressed just stay home.
3. You have overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and dread.
Do you spend much of your time running all sorts of negative thoughts through your head about how horrible your life is? What a loser you are and how no one will ever love you? Are you 100% confident that this will never change?
People who are depressed believe that all of the negative thoughts that run through their head. Unfortunately they also believe, falsely, that it will always be this way!
The truth is that when one is depressed, things can only seem hopeless because when one’s mind is in such a bad place it’s impossible to believe that the future will be any different.
The good news is that once the depression is addressed that feeling of hopelessness can disappear completely!
4. You are impatient with those you love.
Do you find yourself losing your patience with those you love? Do you scream at your kids if their homework doesn’t get done? Do you sneer at your husband if he asks you what is wrong? Can you not even talk to your mom anymore because her incessant questioning is just too much?
Impatience with those you love is a huge indicator of depression. The sense of the hopelessness that our condition will never change and that we are worthless makes it intolerable for us to interact with others, particularly those who love us and want the best for us.
Ironically, it is that love exactly that we need most in our life when we suffer from depression. Pushing that love away ultimately can make the depression worse.
5. Your appetite has changed.
Have you found that recently your appetite has changed? Do you find yourself indulging more than usual in Ben and Jerry’s and Oreos? Or do you find that you have no taste for food at all? Have you lost weight and find yourself listless because you aren’t eating?
Changes in eating patterns can indicate depression. When depression goes untreated we can self medicate with food, often to one extreme or another. Which is not healthy and can make it all worse.
Or course, eating well is an important part of dealing with depression. And failing to do so only makes the feelings of hopelessness and despair worse.
Depression gets worse the longer it goes untreated. Unfortunately we hate to admit to being depressed because our loved ones, and society as a whole, tend to stigmatize those with depression.
So, ask yourself if you have any of the symptoms above. If you do, seek professional help immediately. Call your primary care provider and tell her exactly how you have been feeling, using this article as a reference if you like.
Treating depression is easy. Living with it is not.