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64 WARNING Signs of Depression You Need to Be Aware of

64 WARNING Signs of Depression You Need to Be Aware of

Who hasn’t felt a lonely or sad at times? We all have days when we feel down, blah, or overwhelmed with life, and we may even go through periods when we have a really tough case of the blues. If we take a closer look, however, there’s often an identifiable cause behind those feelings; a loss, an emotional or physical blow of some kind.

Grief over the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, a financial setback, or some other type of extreme hardship may cause us to feel a bit hopeless and miserable temporarily. Having those feelings doesn’t necessarily mean we’re depressed—it might just be our normal and understandable reaction to life’s hardships.

So how do we know if we, or someone we care about, are suffering from depression rather than just ordinary sadness? It’s not always easy to tell the difference. The short, quick answer is that sadness is a temporary emotion, usually with a recognizable cause, while depression lasts for longer periods of time; sometimes forever, and often for no discernible reason. Perhaps the most important indicator of depression is that it interferes with the ability to lead a normal life.

Recognizing depression can be extremely difficult, and the quick definition oversimplifies a very complex problem. There are many signs of this condition that you may have not considered, and to make it even harder, the signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person, as does the severity. Worse, it’s harder to notice the signs when you are in the midst of depression already, which is why other people often notice before the depressed individual does.

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The warning signs are there, but knowing what to look for makes it much more likely that you will spot them sooner.

What to Look For: Signs That You or Someone You Care About May Be Depressed

If you notice several of these symptoms lasting for more than two weeks, seek help. Even one of these symptoms that just won’t go away is a flag to speak to a professional.

Mood changes

What to look for:

  • Persistent agitation
  • The inability to relax
  • Lashing out at others
  • Unexplained irritability
  • General persistent sadness
  • Frequent crying with no reason
  • Mood swings
  • Constant frustration
  • Disproportionate anger
  • Short-temperedness
  • Aggression

Negative attitude

What to look for:

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  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Everything seems to be going wrong
  • Constant negativity
  • Inability to see the positive side
  • “Why bother” thoughts
  • Feeling worthless
  • Persistent guilt or shame
  • Extreme self-criticism or self-blame

Changes in activity or energy level

What to look for:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Continual low energy levels or sluggishness
  • General feeling of moving in slow motion
  • Stop exercising even though you enjoy it
  • Tire easily
  • Restlessness
  • Constant pacing or fidgeting

Loss of interest

What to look for:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • General detachment
  • Disinterest or avoidance of communicating or spending time with loved ones
  • No longer enjoy things that used to bring pleasure
  • Refusal to go out or decline social invitations
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Changes in sexual activity or interest

Brain fog

What to look for:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to remember details, names, numbers
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Hard time making decisions
  • Find easy tasks difficult
  • Forgetting appointments
  • Can’t seem to focus
  • Have to reread sentences or pages

Sleep disturbances

What to look for:

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  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Constant waking at night
  • Sleeping longer than usual
  • Frequent naps
  • Pattern of going to bed earlier or staying up later than normal

Changes in Appetite

What to look for:

  • Loss of interest in eating
  • Consistently missing meals
  • Persistent emotionally triggered eating
  • Bulimia and anorexia are often symptoms of depression

Physical symptoms

What to look for:

  • Persistent aches and pains that won’t go away with treatment
  • Chronic unexplained stress
  • Increased self-medication

Reckless behavior

What to look for:

  • Binge drinking
  • Drug use
  • Reckless driving or speeding
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Taking too much medication
  • Risky sexual behavior

Thoughts of dying

What to look for:

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  • Preoccupation with death
  • Thoughts such as “Things would be better off without me.” “I don’t think I can make it through another day.” “It would be better if I had never been born.”
  • Sudden desire to get affairs in order
  • Thinking about ways to kill yourself

If left untreated, depression can worsen, causing the gradual destruction of life, and not getting treatment can be life-threatening. The inability to recognize the signs of depression is often the biggest danger, but once you become aware of the signs, you need to find help. There’s nothing weak about needing help to feel better, and it’s not unreasonable to want to be happy. Proper diagnosis and treatment is the only way to combat depression—it won’t go away on its own. Watch for the signs in yourself and in those you care about, and don’t let depression go untreated.

 

 

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Royale Scuderi

A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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