This is a guest post from Valerie Johnston at Healthline.com
You may have read the title and said, “No kidding,” but it is a simple truth that many people discount depression as a life threatening condition. Many do not even recognize that what they (or someone close to them) are living with is the crushing weight of the condition until it has taken a serious toll.
For example, someone with true depression will show the following signs:
No Interest – that friend or loved one, or even yourself, who used to love to go on all day bike rides literally cannot get off the couch long enough to look out of the window. When anyone loses any and all interest in the things that used to give them joy it is a major sign that they are seriously depressed. This includes loss of interest in hobbies, socializing, and even sexual activity.
What’s the point? – That is a major red flag statement that many people with depression will say. What they mean is that their feelings have changed on a fundamental level. They no longer see anything other than their depressive state of mind. They are suddenly a helpless or hopeless individual who blames themselves for their problems or expresses tremendous dislike for themselves.
Rip Van Winkle – does it seem like you or your loved one could sleep for a few hundred years? This is another sign that depression is taking over their life. Someone who is displaying true symptoms of the condition will find it hard to do much of anything and will feel (not just seem, but actually physically feel) tired all of the time. The most upsetting thing about this symptom is that the same person who is exhausted and hoping to just sleep away the days might also be unable to sleep when they do get to bed. Insomnia is another major problem that comes from the anxiety of depression too.
Avoiding the scale – lots of people who are facing true depression also tend to experience dramatic fluctuations in their weight and mood. One place this is detectable right away is the scale. While some folks with depression drop a substantial amount of weight because they cannot eat and because they are highly agitated, others are exhausted and feel immensely hungry all of the time. Because they are not moving around and because they tend to eat “comfort foods” (those most often high in fat and calories) there will be weight gain. This makes matters worse for many who get more upset because they have put on a lot of weight.
Mood swings – we have mentioned the anxiety that depression triggers in some, but it can also be manifested as a general state of anxious grouchiness too. It is noted that men, more often than women, show anger and “vent” on others when depressed. They may seem unable to find peace or to relax, but most often it is seen as severe amounts of nervous anxiety or irritability. It may also seem that the person just swings from one extreme to another. They are okay and then crying, and then they are hugely angry or laughing. This is a classic indicator that the hormonal problems triggered by depression are at work.
Suicide – it is impossible to list symptoms of depression without also mentioning its deep connection to suicide. You need only scan the list of symptoms to see that most people cannot live long with such desperate and exhausting extremes. Because many people who are depressed feel that there is no point to anything, they may attempt to end their own lives. This is why all of the other signs must be addressed immediately.
Is there any good news to give? Absolutely. There are many ways to get treatment for depression. The first step is to understand that the way you feel is not natural or healthy. This sort of thing does not happen overnight, however, and you may not even realize that you have cut yourself off from the things you loved to do or the people you enjoyed hanging out with.
There are hot-lines to call and your regular family doctor is always going to take your call right away if you say you are severely depressed and need help immediately. It is often up to the individual to make that call, but it is the best “first step” in conquering this horrible condition. There are medications, group therapies, books, and programs that can also help you recover yourself if you are struggling with depression, and any of these solutions will be a great step too.
Written by: Valerie Johnston at Healthline.com
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon and writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.