Trigger warning: This article does touch on the topic of suicide and death and this may be triggering to some. We encourage reaching out to someone or not continuing to read this article if such is the case.
Disclaimer: This article is made for the purposes of sharing information and not as a means of diagnosis or treatment. Please reach out to a licensed healthcare provider or mental health professional, if you are struggling.
Hey Psych2Goers! Have you ever felt reoccurring negative thoughts or felt pain you couldn’t explain? Well, you aren’t alone. As of 2020, the World Health Organization has said that depression is a common illness that affects more than 264 million people worldwide (World Health Organization, 2020). Did you know there are certain signs and symptoms that are common to depression? Here are 10 signs and symptoms you may notice if you may have depression.
1. Having trouble with sleep
This can manifest in a variety of ways. If you normally sleep well but start seeing patterns of broken sleep, that might be signs of insomnia. You may wake up much earlier than usual, or take longer to fall asleep. You may find yourself sleeping longer or less than usual. PsychCentral’s Matthew Boland and Kimberly Drake say that even if you are getting eight hours or longer, you may still take naps. You may notice that you have to drag yourself out of bed. It may take even an hour for you to do so, more than once a week. However, with proper help, I believe you can fix your sleep schedule.
2. Having apathy or boredom for things you like
Are you starting to notice that activities such as reading a book, watching the newest TV show, or listening to music are starting to seem tedious or not as enjoyable? You may say “whatever” to anything that someone says to you. You have access to all these tasks, however, you don’t want to act on them nor can are able to maintain any interest in them. This is okay, in time, you will be able to enjoy all these activities again.
3. Having unexplained physical pain
For some, depression may show up as physical symptoms. Are you have aches and pains? Headaches? Or even digestive issues? In 2018, Mudyanadzo et al., found that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has shown some connectivity with those who have depression, as many of the pathways are shared between the two diseases. Our whole body is connected to each other in a variety of pathways. It is okay to have physical symptoms as well. But, after consultation with a professional, you will be able to understand what certain pains are linked with.
4. Lacking energy, feeling lethargic, or low stimulation
Have your friends and family maybe asked you “Hey, why are you still staring at the wall?” if so, you may be dealing with the sign of low stimulation. Or you may even notice that you find it hard to focus on a task, such as going to school or work. Psychologist, Dr. Jon Rottenberg, says you may start missing deadlines or assignments because of this lack of energy and concentration. This may result in not remembering certain things or not doing certain activities. However, you are not alone. Reach out to someone if you need help finishing a task or find new forms of gaining motivation. You can do this!
5. Negative rumination
Rumination is when you may start thinking of the same topic or situation over and over again. Generally, this something your loved ones may notice sooner than you will. The thoughts can take over much of your time and Dr. Rottenberg notes how certain past regrets and future worries are futile to spend so much time on. There is good and bad in every situation, so it’s important to look at the silver lining.
6. Increase or decrease in appetite
Have you noticed that you have started snacking more? Craving more things with carbs? You may notice that you are losing weight or putting on weight. Dr. Marks, a registered psychiatrist, says that because carbs have serotonin, so you will notice an increase in mood for 30 minutes after eating, but then this temporary happiness will disappear after. This is a form of self-soothing. You should eat however you want to, until the patterns of eating don’t make you feel good. There are other forms and patterns of self-soothing that can help you and they are out there waiting for you to discover.
7. Self-medicating through misuse of substance
Alcohol contains carbs and you may start consuming more of it. It is understandable that buying a bottle of alcohol or a pack of cigarettes, may be quicker than seeking out external counselling or therapy. However, there are other healthier methods of alleviating your negative feelings. With professional help, you will be able to find them and use them to help you long term.
8. Sudden changes in emotion
Have you felt that you may be happy at one point and severely unhappy at another in a short matter of time. Fales et al., did a study in 2008, that showed how there may be dysregulation in your emotional and cognitive circuits when you are depressed. It is understandable that certain events in your life creates a change in your mood and emotion, but sometimes these changes may start to become severe or extreme. However, you will be able to learn to cope with such changes and learn to appreciate them.
9. Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
You may start thinking that that you are not good enough or you may start to blame yourself for certain problems that occur. These thoughts may start to make you feel like you are drowning, but you are not the problem, there is a lifejacket for you. Often times, there are a variety of factors that create a problem, not one single thing and sometimes, things that happen are out of your control. I hope you know that, you are not the problem.
10. Thoughts of death
When hopelessness or guilty thoughts start to get extreme, you may start to think that death is better and the only option. But it’s not. You are important, you are valued, and you are loved by many. With the help and support of those around you will find how amazing you are. There are so many events and memories to be made, that are out there waiting for you.
Noticing any changes in your day to day life, is the first step to finding out if you may have depression. If you find that your symptoms become severe, by interfering with your day to day life, work, or relationships, please don’t hesitate to gain help through counselling or therapy.
Also, Psych2goers, after you have read this article, if you are still struggling to stay alive, please don’t hesitate to call a hotline, or seek help from mental health professionals.
If you are feeling depressed or contemplating suicide please remember that you are not alone.
America: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Australia: 13 11 14
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90
Hong Kong: +852 28 960 000
Japan/Tokyo: 81 (0) 3 5286 9090
Brazil: 55 11 31514109 or (91) 3223-0074
Germany: 0800 111 0 111
Russia: (495) 625 3101
South Africa: 0800 12 13 14
This is only a shortlist of a few countries, however, there is always somebody to reach out to.
Fales, C. L., Barch, D. M., Rundle, M. M., Mintun, M. A., Snyder, A. Z., Cohen, J. D., … Sheline, Y. I. (2008). Altered Emotional Interference Processing in Affective and Cognitive-Control Brain Circuitry in Major Depression. Biological Psychiatry, 63(4), 377–384. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BIOPSYCH.2007.06.012
Matthew Boland, & Kimberly Drake. (2021, June 22). Top 10 Signs of Depression | Psych Central. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://psychcentral.com/depression/top-signs-symptoms-of-depression
Mudyanadzo, T. A., Hauzaree, C., Yerokhina, O., Architha, N. N., & Ashqar, H. M. (2018). Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Depression: A Shared Pathogenesis. Cureus, 10(8). https://doi.org/10.7759/CUREUS.3178
Rottenberg, J. (2014). The depths : the evolutionary origins of the depression epidemic. Basic Books.
Tracey Marks. (2021, May 26). 10 Subtle Signs You May Be Depressed – YouTube. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq36_4qVBEY
World Health Organization. (2020, January 30). Depression. Retrieved July 25, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression