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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.

 

 

More by this author

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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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