Depression: Symptoms & Risks
It’s normal to feel out of sorts at times, but when the vice grips of hopelessness takes hold, and won’t let go, it might be depression. With depression, it can feel like a major task just to get out of bed in the morning and make it through the rest of your day. It seems like you can’t function and enjoy life like you once did. No matter how hopeless you may feel now, please know that you can get better. Take the first step to feeling better by recognizing depression symptoms.
Depression & Hopelessness
Depression can interfere with eating, sleeping, sexual desire, working, studying, and enjoying life. It is one of the most common mood disorders. It changes how you think, feel, and function and, is much more than just feeling sad. Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and hopelessness are pervasive and unrelenting. Relief from these overwhelming feelings may seem impossible.
For other people, depression may leave them feeling angry, lifeless, empty, restless, or like they have been swallowed up by a black hole. Regardless of how you experience depression, if it’s left untreated it can turn into a serious health condition. There are several different types of depression, and it’s helpful to know what type of depression you may have, so that you can seek out appropriate treatment.
The feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness are symptoms of the depression. These feelings predominate how life is experienced; however they are not an accurate reflection of reality. There are many self-help actions that you can start doing today that will help you minimize the symptoms of depression, so that you can find enjoyment in your life once more.
10 Symptoms of Depression
Each person experiences depression differently, however there are some common symptoms. These symptoms are also present during regular low times throughout life. The difference between regular lows and depression is that depression often has more symptoms, is more intense, and lasts longer.
- Pervasive feelings of helplessness & hopelessness. Everything feels blah–with no hope that things will get better and feeling like there’s nothing you can do to improve your life.
- Loss of enjoyment. Nothing seems to interest you anymore. You have no desire for things that you once enjoyed. Hobbies, sports, social interactions, or sex become “meh”.
- Appetite or weight changes. Noteworthy changes in weight loss or weight gain. (A change in body weight of more than 5% a month.)
- A change in sleep patterns. Early morning waking, insomnia, or oversleeping.
- Anger or irritability. A low tolerance level, agitation, restlessness, or even feeling violent.
- Low to no energy. Feeling drained and tired all the time. Even small tasks seem too exhausting.
- Self-criticizing. Unable to shake feelings of worthlessness and guilt. You find yourself ruminating on your perceived flaws and missteps.
- High risk behaviours. You try to escape your feelings by abusing substances to numb or avoid the pain. Other tension reduction behaviours may include reckless driving, gambling, high risk sexual activity, or dangerous sports.
- Difficulty concentrating. Making decisions, remembering things, and problems with focusing.
- Aches and pains. Medically unexplained increases in back pain, headaches, muscle aches, and stomach pain.
Suicide risk and warning signs
Depression is the leading risk factor for suicide. The intense feelings of hopelessness and misery often make suicide seem like it is the only way to end the pain. If there is someone in your life who has depression and is talking about suicide, take it seriously. Common warning signs include:
- Talking about killing or hurting one’s self
- Expressions of hopelessness or entrapment
- Reckless behaviours (behaving like they have a death wish)
- Calling or visiting people to say “goodbye”
- Giving away belongs because they are getting their affairs in order
- A sudden switch from extreme depression to resolved and happy.
If you believe someone you know is considering suicide, tell them your concern and seek out help immediately. Openly talking about the suicidal thoughts and experiences can save lives.
If you are feeling suicidal…
When depression is overwhelming, it can feel like your problems are permanent. However, over time you will begin to feel better again, especially if you get the support and help you need. There are many people who are ready and able to support you through this difficult time. Please reach out!
Please, if you are unable to keep yourself safe, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Hope for a better future
Lastly, depression is treatable. You’re not doomed to a life of hopelessness and helplessness. The more you know about depression, including the causes and risk factors of depression, the more power you have to overcome it. While depression may be a part of your life right now, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence. The therapists at Unstuck Psychological can work with you to break the patterns of depression and get your life back. Learn more about our risk-free consultation.