Am I Depressed?
I’ve been getting a lot of emails from women asking me if I think they have depression or not. First of all, I’m not a Doctor. If you think you might be depressed I really encourage you to go talk to your Doctor. Depression is something you should take seriously and if you have some of the symptoms there are Doctors and Therapists that can help you. I wanted to make a post that has the symptoms of depression in it. If you have these symptoms and are questioning if you are depressed or not I encourage you to get professional help sooner rather than later. I lived with clinical depression for ten years before I finally got help and learned how to manage it. During those ten years of depression, I missed out on travel, relationships and countless life experiences. One of my main goals with this blog is to inspire you to make a commitment to healing and get help sooner that I did. Depression is a treatable mental illness that people are able to fully recover from and go onto live full and happy lives.
Having low energy levels can be a sign of depression. There are lots of other things that can cause you to have low energy levels so if you’re experiencing this I really encourage you to go talk to a Doctor. When I first started getting treatment in addition to depression I also found out I was deficient of B and D vitamins and had extremely low Iron levels. My Doctor was able to figure all of this out by doing blood work. If you have low energy levels that can be a symptom of depression especially if this isn’t like you or if you don’t feel like yourself.
This is usually sleeping too little or not sleeping enough. I have had both of these during different times and they both suck in their own way. When I was oversleeping I couldn’t get anything done and I was constantly exhausted. The more I slept the more I wanted to sleep and I barely could get out of bed. I also experienced the other end of this when I could barely get any sleep after the loss of a close friend. If you’ve noticed changes in your sleep patterns lately and don’t feel like you are able to feel rested this could be a symptom of depression.
Loss of Interest
One of the signature symptoms of depression is not having an interest in doing the things you used to enjoy. If you don’t have the energy to do the hobbies and activities you used to enjoy you could be depressed. When I’m depressed I have no interest in doing the things I usually enjoy like seeing friends and reading books. I feel like “nothing matters anyway” and can’t be bothered to make plans or do any of the things I used to enjoy. When I’m depressed I feel indifferent about everything and usually fill the days staring up at the ceiling and waiting until it’s late enough to go to bed.
Feeling Hopeless or Negative
When I was depressed I felt an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. I believe that this is what kept me from getting help for so long. I didn’t believe that there was any hope that I would ever recover or that I could feel better. Feeling like things will never get better is a symptom of depression and I think that’s why recovering from depression is difficult for a lot of people. It’s hard to make changes and work on improving your mental health if you don’t feel like there is any hope that you will feel better or that the treatment will actually work. Going to therapy helped me reprogram my negative thinking and to interrupt the relentless negative thoughts I had at the time.
Weight gain or loss of appetite are both symptoms of depression. This is a great example of how depression can look completely different from person to person. A lot of people will lose their appetite and not want to eat when they’re depressed. It can be difficult to make yourself eat if you don’t have any motivation to do anything and some people will find themselves skipping meal after meal. On the other end some people will overeat or binge eat to try and cope with the negative feelings they are having. If you’ve noticed a change in your appetite or weight it could be linked to depression.
If you’re having suicidal thoughts I urge you to take them seriously and get professional help immediately. During my lowest points, I was obsessed with thinking about my own death and planning out my funeral. These kinds of thoughts need to be taken seriously so they don’t lead to actual suicide attempts. If you’re having suicidal thoughts I urge you to reach out to a therapist immediately. You can also reach out to the Crisis Textline if you want to text to a crisis counselor.
When I had depression I had a hard time concentrating on anything. I’ve always been an active reader but my depression made finishing a book feel like an impossible task. If you’re depressed you may find it difficult to complete tasks and you might have difficulty at school or work. If you are having more difficulty than usual completing tasks and paying attention you could be depressed.
Feeling Lonely or Empty
Depression can cause persistent feelings of lonely and emptiness. I remember feeling isolated even when I was with my friends and I struggled more and more to feel connected to anyone. No matter what I did or who was around I always just felt completely alone. Even when my friends did offer the support I still felt lonely and empty. If you find that you always feel lonely no matter who is around you could have depression.
For me, depression is a real physical pain that I experience all over my body. I constantly found myself complaining of headaches and that I “didn’t feel good”. That’s because my depression made me feel achy and tired. Depression can manifest itself as physical pain in your body. If you find that you often don’t feel good and there isn’t a real cause the pain could be from depression.
If you want more information about the causes of clinical depression check out this article. Some of the common causes of depression include:
- Trauma or abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Significant life events
- Substance abuse
- Chemical imbalance
Even if your depression doesn’t have a clear cause it’s still treatable. The National Institute of Mental Health believes that even the most severe cases of depression are treatable and recovery is possible.
There are a lot of different treatment options for depression. You should consult with your Doctor to make a plan for treating and managing your depression. Some treatment options include:
- Herbal remedies
- Diet and exercise
- Light therapy
- Magnetic stimulation
- Nerve therapy
- Support groups
Your Doctor will be able to help you figure out a treatment plan to treat your depression.
Talking To A Doctor
One of the reasons I waited so long to get treatment for my depression is because I was scared to talk to my Doctor about what was going on. I always get nervous going to the doctor and I always just rushed my way through the appointment without really telling them what is going on. I often minimized my struggles and made it sound like everything was fine instead of being honest about what was going on. I felt stupid bringing up depression and like I should be able to handle my mental illness on my own. I felt like asking for help would mean I was messed up or there was something wrong with me. I was scared they would put me on medication that I didn’t want or would make me feel worse. Once I was able to tell my doctor directly and honestly about how much I had been struggling they were able to help me get the treatment I needed. We went over different options for medication as well as other things I could do (like acupuncture) to treat my depression. My doctor ordered blood work and we discovered I had vitamin deficiencies that were likely contributing to the severity of the symptoms I had. It can be scary to talk to a doctor about mental illness but it is worth it if you can get the help you need. Doctors are trained to be able to help you treat depression and they aren’t going to judge you or think you are stupid. You deserve to heal and live a full and happy life just like everyone else.
If you think you might be struggling with depression I hope this post will encourage you to reach out to your Doctor. You are not alone and you don’t need to continue to suffer. There are treatment options available and while they all take time many people have been able to fully recover. The sooner you go get help for your depression the easier it is to treat so I really encourage you to talk to a Doctor as soon as you can. Life has too much to offer and you don’t want to miss out on experiences because of your depression. My biggest regret is that I didn’t get treatment for my depression sooner and I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did.
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