How to Determine If You Are Depressed

Life will always have its ups and downs for everyone – it is 100% normal. However, there are many cases in the world where people have unexplainably strong emotions of hopelessness and despair. For these people, these feelings simply won’t go away and they take a hold of your life. This is a telltale sign of depression. It makes it tough to function and simply enjoy life like you may have been able to do in the past.

However, it is not always noticeable and discernable whether your feelings are actually clinical depression. This unfortunately happens to so many people and as a result they do not get the help and support that they so desperately want and need.

So what is depression? Well, it’s a debilitating mood disorder that is more common than people realize. When people first think of depression, they think of being sad or being, for lack of a better word, depressed. However, depression is not the same as being depressed. Depression changes how you think, act and feel throughout your day. It will interfere with just about everything you do, from working, eating, sleeping and simply enjoying life. And the hardest part is that those close to you, and even yourself, may not realize you are suffering from depression.

Below are some major signs that indicate you may be suffering from depression. Note that if you are exhibiting any or all of the signs listed below, it is always best to go to your doctor to confirm your mental state and well-being before taking any further steps:

  • Feeling empty and lifeless – This sign is definitely something that may not be observable to anyone but yourself. This is because you may be putting up an outward front of happiness to those around you, but in reality you are feeling apathetic towards almost everything. You may have a significant loss of energy as well, for seemingly no reason whatsoever.
  • Issues with sleep – if you have trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, this may be a sign of depression. On the flip side however, sleeping too much may also be a sign of depression, as this is an extension of you not wanting to go out and enjoy life as often as you used to.
  • Appetite or weight changes – any significant changes to your eating habits and as a result you weight can indicate underlying signs of depression. This makes sense as often when you are experiencing difficulty in life, whether it be a breakup or a loss of work, you will often lose your appetite, or over eat to drown out the pain.
  • Self-loathing – this signal includes feeling worthless or being guilty for no particular reason. You may be more prone to harshly criticizing yourself for mistakes and faults that may not even be your own.
  • Anger or irritability – if you are agitated all the time, in instances when you were previously not, then this may be a sign of depression. Some people may even become violent to varying degrees.
  • Reckless behavior – common examples of this include substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving and participating in dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems – If you have trouble focusing with whatever you are currently doing, have trouble making decisions, then this may be a sign of depression. You may also have trouble remembering things.
  • Unexplained body aches and pain – it is common for people who suffer from depression to report an increase in physical pain. These pains can include headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain. If you start to consistently experience more physical pain, without a clear explanation why, then you may be suffering from depression.
  • Suicidal thoughts – If you have explicit thoughts of committing suicide, then this is just about the biggest signal of suffering from depression. If you feel like your problems are not temporary but permanent and overwhelming, this can quickly spiral into suicidal thoughts.

Please note that having a few of these signs on their own may or may not mean that you are suffering from depression.  If you do exhibit any or all of these signs though, particularly suicidal thoughts, you should go to a doctor immediately, regardless of if you believe you are in a state of depression or not. At the very least, your doctor can diagnose you and provide you with a healthy course of action, for whatever your affliction is.

By recognizing if you are clinically depressed, you can begin to take the first steps to overcoming the problem and eventually feeling better and returning to a fulfilling, enjoyable life.

And if you think a friend or family member may be suffering from depression, or may be considering suicide, express your concern and seek help for them immediately. Always remember that talking openly and honestly about these feelings can potentially save a life.