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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 September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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