There are times we may be unable to do even the simplest tasks, struggling to get through the day.
Eventually, we may find ourselves feeling completely trapped in persistent negative thoughts, self-loathing, self-blame, and doubts. At that point, profound sadness and hopelessness may set in and have such a heavy grip on us that we might ask ourselves, “What’s the point in living?”
There seems no joy to life.
On occasions, has this happened to you?
As you’re struggling to get through the day, have you ever wondered if this is more than just the blues? Could you actually be suffering from depression?
How can you tell?
5 Signs You May Suffer From Depression
Occasionally feeling down is a common part of life, but true depression consistently makes it hard to even function. At times, it may feel like we have been swallowed up by the black hole of doom and emptiness or have been caught in the fierce grasp of discontent and anger.
Of course, depression differs from person to person and with gender and age, yet there are some signs that apply to most people:
1. Low Mood and Fluctuating Emotions
Feeling down, dejected, and disheartened are some of the more obvious signs of depression. This includes strong feelings of unworthiness and guilt, harsh self-criticism over perceived faults, utter helplessness, and a profoundly bleak outlook. But for some—especially men—depression may also cause a low tolerance level and a short temper, leading to irritability, agitation, restlessness, anger, or even violence.
Interestingly, there may be strong fluctuations of emotions throughout the day. Your low mood may be much worse in the mornings, only to suddenly improve in the afternoon, as if a switch was flipped. This is known as diurnal mood variations.
2. Anhedonia – Loss of Interest
Depression causes you to lose interest in daily activities and the ability to feel pleasure. The things that used to bring you joy—pastimes, hobbies, social activities—no longer excite you. As you’re struggling to get through the day, everything feels flat and colorless. Your zest for life is gone. You don’t care about being around people and drift more and more into isolation.
Anhedonia can also have an effect on your appetite and libido. It can cause you to indulge in comfort eating or simply not caring about eating at all. This may lead to weight changes—significant loss or gain—within just a few months. Moreover, indifference toward those who you used to care about and hormonal changes can completely abolish your sexual desires.
3. Poor Decision Making and Memory
Signs of depression can also manifest themselves in negative changes to cognitive functions. You may have trouble concentrating, focusing, remembering, or making decisions. Often, a depressed person’s memory becomes over-general, which weakens problem-solving abilities. It becomes very hard to focus on what you could do to improve a certain situation or even feel motivated to do anything about it.
You may also become indecisive, struggling with trusting your gut feelings and having a hard time making good decisions. Instead, you may make very poor decisions that lead to escapist behavior, such as reckless driving, substance abuse, dangerous sports, or compulsive gambling.
4. Sleep Problems and Fatigue
Insomnia and persistent tiredness are also some of the more common symptoms of depression. Changes in sleep patterns include oversleeping, not being able to go to sleep, or waking up in the early hours of the morning and being unable to go back to sleep. The subsequent loss of energy—fatigue, sluggishness, feeling physically drained—will often have you struggling to get through the day.
5. Physical Ailments
Pain is a mostly psychological experience. It can become worse or better, depending on your emotional and mental state. Depression, therefore, can increase your sensitivity to pain. Unexplained aches and pain and a rise in physical complaints that just won’t go away even with treatment can be signs of your dejected mental state.
Of course, all these symptoms can just be part of the normal ups and downs of life or signs of another illness. However, the more of them you experience, the more intense they are, and the longer they go on, increases the likelihood that you are truly dealing with depression. Rather than endlessly struggling to get through the day, feeling as if nothing will ever change, why not seek a professional diagnosis and help.