How to Know if You Are Depressed
Feeling sad from time to time is a normal part of life, but when powerful negative emotions such as despair take over you, then it may be a sign of depression.
October is Depression Awareness Month and a good time for you to reflect on your mental health. This year has been challenging, to say the least. We’re all going through a collective trauma and are trying to make sense of how our lives have turned around in just a few weeks. So, if you are feeling anxious, sad, and unmotivated, its high time for you to consider if you have any kind of depressive disorder.
How Has Mental Health Changed During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The stressors created by the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to an increase in the number of people who report difficulty with mental health conditions in the US. Now more than 2 in 5 people say they’re struggling with depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in mental health issues, especially for young adults, essential workers, minorities, and caregivers.
The truth is that it shouldn’t come as news that living through a lock-down, being uncertain about the future, being in a high risk group or worrying about your loved ones, losing your job, or having your income reduced, all contribute to a generalized feeling of anxiety and stress.
How Do You Know If You Are Depressed?
You deserve to find out whether you are suffering from one of these conditions. The treatments available to you can greatly increase the quality of your life.
Believe it or not, you don’t necessarily have to feel down or depressed to have depression. You just need to have less interest or pleasure in your usual activities. It won’t take long for you to take a screening quiz to find out if you have depression or another condition that is making your life more difficult than it has to be. Maybe it will take some courage for you to face your demons, but it will be worth the effort you put in.
Conditions like these can affect many other areas of your life. When you’re dragged down by depression, it’s easier to passively go along with whatever problems come your way rather than standing up for yourself or taking good care of yourself. You might not have the energy to risk someone being upset with you. You might not feel like going to the doctor for a checkup.
Subtle Signs That Might Mean You’re Depressed
Depression takes many forms. Many people are suffering from it and don’t realize it, just because they are dealing with what’s called “highly-functional depression”. You are able to go on with your daily tasks, you smile and laugh with others, your work is not affected. But depression might be there and give you that feeling that something is not right.
Often people experience depression as physical symptoms like headaches, back pain, stomach aches, and joint pain. Depression could be the reason you’re gaining weight. You might be eating more and have no energy to exercise. Everything in your life can feel more overwhelming, including your relationships.
Depression can sabotage your normally positive outlook. You’re more likely to be critical of yourself which just compounds all your other problems. It certainly can make getting the help you need more difficult if you tell yourself it’s “weak” to have problems and it feels shameful to ask for help.
How to Get Help During a Rough Patch in Your Life
Having problems is not a failure, and it’s a sign of strength to ask for the help you need. We all need help sometimes, it’s just part of the human condition. Interestingly, when you’ve struggled with depression for a while, it can become a little like an old friend. Although you’re suffering, you might be afraid to lose the familiarity of it. At least you know what to expect.
Changing the status quo might be scary for you and that might be a reason for you to delay getting help. Or you might feel uncomfortable about talking to a total stranger about such personal issues. What can you do when seeking help seems too complicated or uncomfortable?
It usually isn’t too bad to have one visit with a therapist or psychiatrist the first time. In fact, often people feel better knowing they have a place to work on these issues. That first visit will tell you a lot about whether you’d be comfortable returning for another. If not, perhaps you’re not a good match and you might feel more comfortable with someone else.
All it takes is taking a moment to do some introspection, ask yourself if you feel fulfilled and motivated in all aspects of your life, and look deeper into those things that seem to drain your positivity.
Try not to worry too much about how long the process of feeling better will take and what will be involved. As Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
What will your first step be? Leave me a comment below.