Depression Symptoms – More Complex Than Simple Sadness
When it comes to depression symptoms, most people only think of chronic sadness. Which is why I battled depression for a few years before I even realized that I was battling depression.
See, when it first showed up, it didn’t feel like sadness. It felt like a loss of interest in things I once really enjoyed – exercising, shopping, and attending social outings. I just assumed that my interests were changing as I aged and matured.
Then I started eating more, usually when my husband was working late or out with friends, and I was home alone. I used to practice moderation, instilled in me thanks to four years of health and exercise science classes, and internships working with collegiate athletes. But almost overnight…I just didn’t care anymore.
My weight slowly crept up, first one pound, then three. But it was a small enough amount that I didn’t give it much thought. I hovered 5-10 pounds over my regular weight for almost a year, as I struggled through a divorce and battled feelings of worthlessness and extreme fatigue.
You Can Experience Depression Symptoms Even When Life Seems Good
But then things started looking up! I began dating someone that truly loved and valued me, moved to a trendy, new city to start working at a dream job, and made a slew of new friends.
Things became serious with my boyfriend and we decided to build a house together. It had been my dream to own a house for several years! But despite what seemed like a string of successes, the same feelings lingered in the back of my mind.
Soon my boyfriend and I were engaged, and I was working hard to lose the extra ten pounds for our wedding. But despite my best efforts with intense exercise and squeaky clean eating, the scale wouldn’t budge even one pound. So I visited my doctor to find out if my thyroid was to blame (hypothyroidism runs in the family), and she asked me if I was fighting depression.
“No!” I answered quickly, and without much thought. How could I possibly be depressed?! I was getting married, building a brand-new house, killing it with raises and promotions at work…I didn’t have a reason to be sad.
But a few days later, I was still thinking about her question. I scoured the internet for more information, and found a surprising list of symptoms that I never knew could indicate depression. My loss of interest, overeating, feelings of worthlessness, and fatigue all made the list.
As it turns out, depression doesn’t always feel like overwhelming sadness, and it doesn’t always follow some huge loss or disappointment in your life. Sometimes it manifests itself in other ways. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America lists the following as symptoms of depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.
What to Do If You’re Experiencing Depression Symptoms
So what do you do if you think you might be battling depression? Or if you wonder if you are? The first step is to talk with your doctor. You don’t necessarily have to make an appointment with a specialist; my primary care doctor was able to diagnose me and suggest a treatment plan.
Your doctor will talk with you through your symptoms and will likely ask some specific questions about your emotions and behaviors. Based on their diagnosis, they may recommend a number of next steps. These could include exercise, nutrition, or supplements (natural antidepressants), counseling, or medication.
Many people avoid talking to their doctor because they don’t want to be placed on a medication, but there are so many other ways to treat depression! If your doctor recommends a medication, but you’re not comfortable with it, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns, and to ask for an alternative treatment plan. It’s your decision, and your doctor won’t know your preferences unless you voice them.
Wrap It Up
Depression isn’t just about feeling sad. It can be manifested in a hundred different ways, many of which we can brush off if we’re not well-informed.
If you can relate to several of the symptoms in the list above, schedule an appointment with your doctor to talk about it, and to find out if you might be living with depression and not even know it. You can’t win a battle you don’t know you’re in!
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*DebTakesHerLifeBack.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on DebTakesHerLifeBack.com.
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