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Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Lesser-Known Symptoms of Depression Everyone Should Be Aware Of

Did you know that about 66% of the 350 million people suffering from depression do not get treatment? Some experts put the figure at 80%. About 17 million Americans are suffering from this mental illness, and nine million may have clinical depression. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. However, men are at increased risk when their levels of testosterone are reduced in middle age.

People suffer from depression when certain emotional and physical needs are missing. It is fascinating to look at the Kaluli tribe in New Guinea, where depression simply does not exist. Their society is built on mutual help and support. This is what is missing in our modern society, and the effects have been devastating and costly. It is the price we pay for a highly individualistic mentality.

“Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful.” – Giles Andreae

If you or a loved one suspect that you might be suffering from some form of depression, it is important to know what the symptoms are so that you can then get the necessary help and treatment.

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Symptoms of depression can be physical

People associate depression with a low mood and other classic mental issues. But with depression, the body suffers, and many physical symptoms start to appear. Depressed people are less liable to follow a diet, take medicine or participate in exercise, which exacerbates the situation.

Inexplicable headaches and pain

One of the pointers indicating depression may be aches and pains which cannot be explained by any other physical condition. There may be headaches, lower back pain, abdominal pain, joint and neck problems. It is as if depression leaves large footprints all over your body. Many patients report that physical pain is the main symptom, or at least the first sign that they are suffering from depression.

The explanation may be that the nerve pathways governed by the neurotransmitters such as serotonin are also involved in our physical sensations. This would explain why sleeping and eating habits are affected by depression.

One psychiatrist has remarked that as many as 50% of undiagnosed cases of depression may be those who are not reporting a depressed mood at all.

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Sleep patterns are disturbed

Up to 75% of depressed patients suffer from insomnia and other sleep problems. Experts have noted that sleep patterns or sleep architecture are manifestly altered in depression. Quality of life is affected and may lead to more depression symptoms. It is a sort of vicious circle.

Fatigue and loss of energy

These symptoms could be at the root of many chronic illnesses and diseases. Loss of energy and feelings of apathy may just be the tip of the iceberg. Early morning waking and feeling exhausted plus difficulty getting back to sleep are also related to depression.

Many elderly patients suffer from loss of control over their lives because of failing physical health. This starts a negative emotional spiral which can lead to isolation and apathy.

Weight issues

Weight issues as a symptom of depression can range from binge eating to starvation diets. Those who are obese are at greater risk for depression, and depressed patients are also more likely to becoming overweight. This was the conclusion after 15 studies reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Loss of energy, poor sleep and apathy add to the risk.

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To read more about weight issues and emotional issue, you can check out Emotional Eating: What You Need To Know Before Starting Another Diet by Edward Abramson.

Apathy and hopelessness

Many patients feel that they have no interest in any of the activities they used to enjoy. This is coupled with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There is also a feeling that life is simply not worth living.

“Depression can seem worse than terminal cancer, because most cancer patients feel loved and they have hope and self-esteem.” – David D.Burns

Doom and gloom

Depressed patients are miserable and down most of the time. Sometimes there is also anxiety and negative thoughts. These are the result of the patient’s beliefs, ethics and behavior. They buzz around in the head like irritating insects. When depression is the cause, these thoughts take over and can paralyze the one suffering. Part of any depression treatment will be learning to let go of these thoughts.

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“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” – Marcus Aurelius

And many more symptoms…

Depression covers a multitude of symptoms, and everybody seems to have a different set. It is perfectly normal to feel sad or dejected after a disappointment. Bereavement and illness may also pull you down. Loneliness and financial worries can all play a part. It is however when these symptoms I have listed above start taking over your whole existence that it may be time to ask for help.

Featured photo credit: Saint Anna Lake VII/Janos Csonger Kerekes via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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