Hey, Psych2Goers! Welcome back to another article! Have you been feeling beaten down by life lately? Like the harder you paddle, the faster you sink? When someone is feeling a bit broken by life, sure they feel negative feelings, but this is something that will pass after some time. But what does it mean when we are stuck in that feeling of helplessness for more than two weeks? This could be a sign that it’s not just feeling broken; you may be experiencing depression. Here are 6 signs you’re going through depression, NOT just feeling broken.
Side Note: This article is for educational, informational, and awareness purposes. It is not intended to be a substitute for a mental health professional, and it is not intended to diagnose any individual. If anything in this article resonates with you, please reach out to a professional mental health provider.
***TRIGGER WARNING: We’ll be mentioning death and thoughts of suicide. If these topics or related topics are triggering to you, please feel free to join us on our next article.
#1: Your sleep schedule has been severely off.
Sleep is one of the most important things we do daily. It helps with memory retention, helps our health, and allows us to be recharged and refreshed every day. The CDC recommends adults ages 18-60 get at least 7 hours of sleep per day. When we sleep more or less than this, it can be a sign we are running from and ignoring our thoughts. This out-of-whack sleep cycle is your body giving you a warning signal that something more is going on.
#2: You’re seeing drastic changes in your eating habits.
Similar to #1, eating is a necessary thing to keep you alive and well. I typically eat 3-4 meals per day. Whenever I notice myself straying from that, I know something is up. Over eating is a common way some will numb their feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, depression can bring feelings of anxiety or even make you nauseous, so you may not want to eat at all. Either way, this is huge red flag that something more than feeling down on your luck is happening!
#3: You don’t enjoy your hobbies or hanging out with your friends.
We all need a rest or mental health day here and there. It’s healthy to pay attention to yourself to ensure you’re keeping yourself in a good state of mind and body. However, it can be a problem if you’ve completely withdrawn yourself. Sometimes, it may be just going to school/work and back home. Sometimes it may be not partaking in hobbies. It can even be not leaving your room for days or weeks. This change of pace can be another warning sign of depression.
#4: You’re angry or irritated a lot of the time.
When you’re in a low state and are forced to be around others, it can sometimes bring up other negative emotions like anger, irritability, and agitation. Say you’re waiting for the bus after a long day of work. When the bus comes, the driver opens the door, but only to tell you that the bus is full. You have to wait for the next one which will come in an hour. When you’re feeling more like you, you might shrug it off and find another route. If you’re experiencing depression, you might yell at the driver or mutter to yourself how upset you are while you wait for the next bus. If you notice this is how most of your interactions are going these days, you may be going through something more.
#5: You talk and think about death and dying a lot.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my true crime stories and Halloween 365 days per year. This is different. It can start with the ever-popular “I just want to die” when something horrible happens, but it escalates from there. It turns into thoughts and talking about death and slowly morphs into thoughts and talking about how you could end your life. This is commonly referred to as “suicide ideation”.
This sign can be masked ask dark humor. Think Chandler Bing from Friends. If a loved one is using jokes and sarcasm to mask depression or thoughts and feelings of death, this can be a silent cry for help. There is always help! Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.
#6: You feel pains and aches all over your body.
If there’s one thing I have personal experience in, it’s that mental health can manifest as physical health issues. In 2010, Brian Leonard did a study and found that inflammation and decrease in immune system function can be caused by depression. Inflammation can happen in your muscles and even your digestion tract. Stomach pain, bloating, and other gastrointestinal ailments can all by linked to depression. This is a major distinction in determining feeling broken from a bad event and possible depression.
Do you identify with any of these signs? Do you know anyone who does? If you do, please reach out to a loved one and a mental health professional to help explore your feelings. In 2012, a group of researchers announced to the Association for Surgical Education that surgeons can better avoid negative consequences of the overwhelming stress of their job by simply being taught about symptoms, causes, and treatments of stress! It really is “the more you know”! Do you have any stress relieving tips? Let us know in the comments below! As always, keep an eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content!
Have a great day!
The references used in and to compose this article are listed below.
Bhandari, S. (2020, September 12). Warning signs of severe depression. WebMD. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/depression/warning-signs
CDC. (2016, February 16). 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
E. Leonard, B. (2010). The concept of depression as a dysfunction of the immune system. Current Immunology Reviews, 6(3), 205–212. https://doi.org/10.2174/157339510791823835
Hochberg, M. S., Berman, R. S., Kalet, A. L., Zabar, S. R., Gillespie, C., & Pachter, H. L. (2013). The stress of residency: Recognizing the signs of depression and suicide in you and your fellow residents. The American Journal of Surgery, 205(2), 141–146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2012.08.003
Schimelpfening, N. (2020, December 7). What are the signs that you are severely depressed? Verywell Mind. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-signs-that-you-are-severely-depressed-1066883
Villines, Z., & Legg, T. J. (2018, July 9). The effects of depression on the body and Physical Health. Medical News Today. Retrieved May 1, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322395#symptoms