Possible symptoms of depression

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Kevin Mangelschots

There are a multitude of possible symptoms that are indicative that you might be suffering from depression.

Keep in mind that these grounds may vary from individual to individual. Not everyone will have the same, or as many symptoms that they’re suffering from this particular mental disorder.

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Less or no desire to do anything

    One of the most giveaway symptoms of depression is a decreased, or no desire at all to do anything.

    Hobbies you might’ve previously enjoyed, like weightlifting, and running for example, suddenly mean very little to you.

    But it’s not only about your interests. Even things such as getting out of bed, and even showering yourself can suddenly become very hard to do because you have zero motivation, arousal, and energy to do so.

  • Your thoughts get darker and more negative

    Illustration of a man sitting on a chair with various negative thoughts written around him.

    It becomes increasingly harder to see the affirmative things in life, or the positive in other people around you, the more depressed you become.

    You tend to get more negative, nihilistic, cynical, and overall more pessimistic the worse your mood gets. Perhaps these antagonistic thoughts get increasingly worse because we start to lose hope, since we simply don’t see a way out anymore.

  • Overthinking

    You tend to start overthinking when things are going poorly, which is basically what depression is. Feeling bad all the time.

    It seems like there’s no ‘off’ button to your mind and thoughts anymore. That’s why you continue pondering, even though it’s detrimental and worsening your mental health.

    The problem is that there’s countless possible unfavorable scenarios that can happen in life. And continuously focusing on the negatives will inevitably lead to you not being able to see the positive in others, and life in general anymore.

    In my opinion, certain personality types are more at risk for developing overthinking behavior than others. That’s not to say that they’re automatically doomed to overthink, but they’re more prone to developing said disorder, and should take preemptive precautions to protect themselves.

  • Anxiety

    All these damaging, unsupportive thoughts and pattern of overthinking mean we’ll experience more anxiety than the average person. And we know that there are a lot of different anxiety types that can impact our lives for the worse.

    This anxiousness can be about the smallest things in life, which might seem insignificant to other people who are not suffering from a mental disease. Popular examples include being scared to talk to others, afraid of losing their keys, and even being alarmed that someone will break into their house.

    Fortunately, there are some things we can do to reduce stress and anxiety such as calling, or visiting your friends for regular social interaction and to empty your mind.

  • Ruminating

    Negative thoughts keep running rampant through your head without any option to stop these contents from happening.

    This means that you can’t get any rest during the day, while being tense since you’re constantly worrying what went, and might go wrong in the future.

    As a result, you’re not able to sleep at night since your sympathetic nervous system is overactive because you’re so wound up. Our sympathetic nervous system should only be active in life-threatening situations, since it occurs during a fight or flight response. It drains us from our energy, and is devastating for our wellbeing in the future when used too frequently or long.

  • Irritable

    Picture of a woman looking angry with steam coming out of her ears.

    You start to get a lot more irritable because your thoughts tend to get darker, while overthinking and ruminating at the same time. This coupled with a decrease in sleep quality is absolutely devastating to our temper.

    You could being irritable as being in a ‘foul mood’ all the time.

    The smallest thing might trigger you and set you off on an emotional tantrum. Even if the person in question didn’t even say, or do, anything wrong.

  • Increased desire to self-medicate

    You might have more desire to drink alcohol, especially during the week.

    I guess that’s because drinking alcohol, or consuming any drugs for that matter, is addictive and will release dopamine, which is our ‘happiness hormone’. This will make us feel better instantly, improving our mood in the process, even if short-lived.

  • Your sleep quality decreases

    Image of a cat sleeping with the quote, “if you're persistently exhausted, you're doing too many things” written next to it.

    Your sleep quality will almost inevitably get worse if you suffer from depression. That’s not abnormal if we know that you’re basically overthinking and ruminating all the time you spend awake.

    The increased amount of anxiety and stress you feel also play a large factor for not being able to catch much sleep. And if you do manage to fall asleep, you probably can’t sleep through, making you feel exhausted, and unrefreshed when getting out of bed after a night of rest.

  • Appetite changes

    You might forget to eat because you are so stressed out and sunken in negative thoughts during the day.

    It might also be the case that you react in the opposite manner and start eating a lot more than you did previously. This is what we call stress eating, and is an attempt of our body and mind to reduce tension.

    If this happens, chances are that there will be a lot of sugar and fast food in your diet, which are addicting because they release endorphins as well. These neurochemicals being released are hormones that make us feel better, hence the term ‘stress eating’.

  • Feeling of helplessness

    A man holding a sign reading “help”.

    Because of all those negative thoughts and feelings floating around in your head, you may start to doubt yourself, or your ability to get better at all. And we know that we need enough hope in order to take action.

    You might begin to wonder if you can ever recover from your depression because you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore.

    If you feel that you’ve lost control of your life, then you will start feeling helpless because ‘it’s not under your control anyway’. Of course, that isn’t true, and there’s always something we can do to improve our situation.

  • Having a hard time thinking clearly/concentrating

    This is probably linked to having poor sleep hygiene because depressed individuals sleep too little, and with no to little consistency. Being stressed out all the time is also a big factor for not being capable of sleeping well.

    This in turn makes your thinking more foggy, and thus less clear and fast. You might have trouble concentrating on tasks while being easily distracted.

Conclusion

Image of a hand holding a card with the word “conclusions” written in blue.

All these potential symptoms that are associated with depression are horrible, and can make it a terrible disorder to live with.

Fortunately, it is curable, or at the very least manageable. Nevertheless, it’s a complex illness, which means that there are a multitude of things we must do in order to cure depression.

In the end, there is no reason that anyone should continue to suffer pointlessly.

Treatment should rely on, and include lessening the crippling symptoms, all the while getting to the core of the problem(s). Finding the cause(s) that trigger and maintains the depression is key to fix this mental disorder.

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