Many of us know what depression is and what the apparent signs are. Prolonged sadness, loss of hope, loss of interest in activities are all common symptoms. These symptoms are commonly listed on mental health websites and in antidepressant ads. But these aren’t the only symptoms. Sometimes symptoms are more subtle, less obvious, but just as important.
These symptoms are just as important as other, more obvious ones, and should be looked out for just the same.
Depression can show itself in some of the least-expected ways. It can sometimes “find a way out,” when it gets otherwise internalized. Some examples include excessive drinking or drug use, seeking an affair outside of one’s relationship, increased aggression, or withdrawing from those you love.
Some physical symptoms could occur, such as backaches or lowered sex drive. Extreme fatigue, whether mental or physical, is also a significant symptom. The sufferer’s eating habits may also change, either eating too much or too little. Sleep patterns may suffer in the same way.
In addition to irritability and anger issues, sometimes it goes beyond that. Feeling hopeless or helpless makes it easy to lash out externally when you’re going through something internally.
Sufferers can be sensitive to rejection and display symptoms of hostility. Some of these symptoms can be linked to other disorders, especially if it’s related to anger.
Depression and perfectionism have a long history of being connected. Having all-or-nothing, rigid, or unrealistically high expectations all indicate perfectionism. These can all relate to depression.
People who are depressed sometimes believe people will only love them if they’re perfect. People with depression also may suffer from low self-esteem that contributes to this kind of thinking.
When you’re a perfectionist, making mistakes may be interpreted as having something deeply wrong with you. Making mistakes is part of life and the role of being human, but those who expect perfection in themselves may view these mistakes as a representation of their inability to measure up.
It is very important to respond to these signs with compassion and support. In many cases, it can be beneficial to seek the services of a mental health professional.
Everyone has trouble concentrating once in a while, but it could mean something more if the symptoms are prolonged. When you can’t focus to the point where it affects your work and relationships, it could be a sign of depression.
Most of the time, these symptoms get overlooked as signs of something else, such as ADD, ADHD, or simply the tendency to get distracted. Depression symptoms are often private experiences that the sufferer can hide from others. But concentration issues directly impair functioning. People can miss assignments, deadlines and their work and personal lives can suffer overall.
Because these symptoms are so outward facing, they may be easier to spot than others. However, many people suffer privately, and don’t consider the root cause may be something more deep-seated.
We all feel guilt at times. But when you experience deep guilt about many or most areas of your life, it could be a sign of depression. A depressed person may have guilt that consumes them, making them feel guilty about their very being.
It could go as far as feeling guilty about existing — being born in the first place. They may feel guilty about being depressed in general. This can be incredibly debilitating and consume much of their time and energy.
We acknowledge some people as having a negative attitude. But it is a sincere issue when someone picks out the negative about everything. This can sabotage a person’s relationships and countless aspects of their life.
Humans naturally pick up on negative aspects to warn them of danger. When you see the negative all the time, all you see is danger. And, over time, this can turn into depression. Someone who is pessimistic can hear something that is good news and immediately find the negative in it. This cycle of negative thinking can cloud one’s thinking and worldview, making it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and feeding into itself by pushing others away and becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
When you are depressed, sometimes a positive event can bring you out of it for a bit. But you typically return to it. This symptom is often overlooked as something normal or even another disorder. But toggling between depression and brief events that pull you out of it is a significant symptom of clinical depression.
Depression often coincides with addiction, as substance abuse is often used to cope. Addiction isn’t just limited to substance abuse, however. Eating disorders and process addictions are other ways in which self-medicating can occur. It’s natural when you’re depressed to want to find convenient ways to eliminate it – as self-destructive or unhealthy as they may be.
The problem is that a depressed person isn’t good at choosing adequate coping mechanisms. Smoking and drinking are more comfortable than going to therapy and exercising. Addictive behaviors, however, only serve to make the situation worse.
LOOKING FOR HELP?
At Lisa Rogers Counseling, I offer a wide range of therapy and mental health services for several areas. You are not alone in your struggle and neither are your loved ones. Reach out today to make an appointment.
Since 1993, I have been providing a combination of all my years of training tailoring specific treatments based on the individual needs and challenges of my patients, facilitating healing. I make every effort to accommodate the busy schedules of my patients by offering evenings, weekend appointments and Telemental Health (Online Counseling-Virtual/Video Conference and Phone Sessions) offered in the following states I am licensed in: New York, California, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Vermont.