Depression affects different people in different ways.
And without the support of a professional, it’s often hard to tell the difference between sadness, which is a healthy emotion everyone feels in response to bad things that happen in their lives, and clinical depression, which is a mental health issue you don’t need to suffer through.
To help you tell if you have depression, here’s a breakdown of its most common symptoms.
Loss of motivation
One of the most common causes of depression is a loss of motivation.
This might be in a specific area of your life such as work, your studies, or your social life. It could also come in the form of a lack of drive in every area of your life, leaving you feeling apathetic about your whole life.
If you feel like things aren’t going well in your life and you can’t see any hope of them getting better, you may be suffering from depression.
Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
If you have no interest in doing the things that usually bring you joy, such as spending time with your friends or engaging in your hobbies and interests, you may be going through depression.
Lack of energy
Depression can have a physical affects, too. If you lack energy, feeling sluggish and tired all the time – even after a good night’s sleep – you could be suffering from depression.
A change in appetite and weight
Depression can affect your appetite as well. This usually comes in the form of a loss of appetite and weight loss, but it can have the opposite effect too.
If a sudden change in appetite and weight coincides with any of the other symptoms on this list, there’s a good chance you’re suffering from depression.
Loss of confidence in yourself
If you begin doubting yourself constantly and engaging in negative self-talk, you could be going through depression – especially if you usually have a healthy level of self-esteem.
Feelings of self-loathing and guilt
Depression can also cause a spiral of self-loathing and guilt – often centred around the idea that there’s something “wrong” with you because of the other symptoms you’re displaying. This can lead to an even deeper depression, which triggers more of the behaviours you’re feeling guilty about.
This is a vicious cycle to find yourself in. If you feel like you’re going through this right now, remember that the past is the past and what’s done is done. Feeling guilty over things you did or didn’t do – especially if you were suffering from depression at the time – isn’t a healthy way to live with your past.
Instead, realise that there’s a difference between taking responsibility for the things you’ve done in your past and loathing yourself for having done them.
And the most proactive way to take responsibility for feelings of self-loathing and guilt is to recognise they’re a symptom of depression and discuss them with a professional.
Depression can often cause a rollercoaster of emotions: outbursts of anger, uncontrollable bouts of crying, and severe irritability can all come along seemingly without reason or explanation.
These mood swings can leave you feeling ungrounded and unstable – like you’re never quite “yourself”.
Depression can also trigger suicidal thoughts.
If you’re having these thoughts, it’s important to realise that they’re a symptom of your depression, not an expression of your true self.
You are not your thoughts – you can let them pass through your mind rather than engage with them, observing them rather than acting on them. This is especially true for thoughts that are being caused by depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can call the Samaritans any time, day or night, on 116 123.
Remember that you don’t have to go through anything alone, either. If you are having suicidal thoughts, make sure that you see a professional as soon as possible – they’ll be able to help you work through this.
It’s normal and healthy to feel sad sometimes. Grief, regret, heartbreak and sorrow are emotions everybody feels over the course of their lives, and we all go through rough patches and dark times.
But if you identify with any of the symptoms on this list and have felt that way for a while, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice on whether you’re suffering from depression.
If you are, they’ll be able to help you work through your depression and get back to your usual self.
If you’re based in the North East of England, we can offer you counselling support for the symptoms of depression. Contact us or ring us on 0191 466 1314 and we’ll get you the right help as quickly as possible.