Everyone experiences feeling gloomy, melancholy or down––it’s normal. At times, life circumstances can be overwhelming and put you in a sad mood. But sometimes being unhappy isn’t just the blues, it is a signal of a deeper underlying issue such as depression. Depression is an intense sadness accompanied by helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness that last longer than two weeks. Don’t take it lightly, like high blood pressure and diabetes, it is a medical problem––you cannot simply wait it out.
8 Signs Your Sadness is a Sign of Depression:
- Sleeping too little or too much. Changes in sleep pattern can be the first clue of depression. Although you sleep for long hours, you aren’t refreshed. You are often awakened multiple times which usually causes fatigue and irritability. Sleeping may actually be an attempt to escape from problems. On the other hand, you can find yourself too troubled to fall asleep and experience many nights of wakefulness and restlessness.
- Lack of interest in activities that were pleasurable. If you rather not hangout with friends, participate in your favorite pastimes or do hobbies which once excited you, it could be red flag that you are not just down in the dumps, but instead are depressed. Withdrawing from friends and loved ones amplifies the depression.
- A guilty conscious. Are you constantly feeling guilty about things, even those that are not in your control? Being consumed by a guilty conscious signifies depression may be lurking. People who are depressed tend to get stuck in a cycle of excessive negative thoughts which weigh heavily on them and distort their thinking.
- Low energy. If the low battery light seems to always be on in your life, perhaps you should check to make certain you aren’t depressed––no motivation can be a tell-tale sign. The thought process in depressed individuals is typically slower making it difficult to get even routine day-to-day tasks done.
- Poor concentration. Are you starring at the same “thing” for hours and cannot make any progress because your thoughts are all over the place? This could be a warning sign––depression ahead. Because you are easily distracted, the ability to comprehend and remember information is affected. Poor concentration can put a burden on work, personal life and relationships leaving you feeling alienated.
- Overeating or loss of appetite. Food can be a means of numbing emotions that appear too massive to confront. If you notice you are having a love-hate relationship with food, but you crave its comfort, perhaps you are depressed. Likewise, if you are dropping weight due to a lack of an appetite and feeling low, it also could be a cloud of depression.
- Easily agitated. When the “normal chaos” is frustrating you more than ordinary and you frequently find yourself seconds from crying, it might be a hint that you are depressed. The fatigue, perceived stress and persistently dampened mood which are the hallmarks of depression can be keeping you on edge.
- Suicidal thoughts. Take thoughts of hurting yourself very seriously. Seek professional help right away. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, with the appropriate intervention, you can regain hope and self-worth.
To lift your sad mood, keep a consistent sleep regimen, don’t worry about being a downer; maintain positive social contacts, increase your physical activity, shift from multi-tasking to accomplishing a single thing at a time, find something other than food to cope with your feelings, eat foods high in folic acid (spinach) and omega-3-fatty acids (salmon), avoid drugs and alcohol, practice deep belly breathing to relieve stress and schedule an appointment with your doctor. There is help for depression…you don’t have to be “exhausted from trying to be stronger than you feel.” (anonymous)