7 Signs You Might Be Suffering From Depression

More than half the people who experience symptoms of depression do not seek treatment. You may feel something is wrong, but a self-diagnosis often just amounts to: “I must just be having a really, really bad day.” However, if a “bad day” becomes several consecutive and increasingly bad days, it’s likely you are experiencing some form of depression, a debilitating and potentially life-threatening physical and psychological disorder. Thankfully, depression can be diagnosed and treated. Here are some signs that you may be suffering from something much more serious than a “bad day” and should seek medical help.

  1. Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy:

    Author Andrew Solomon has written extensively about his struggles with depression. In its earliest stages, he first noticed he was feeling detached from and “constantly bored” by events that he otherwise would have found stimulating, including the publication and positive critical reception of his first novel. Solomon lost interest in attending social events, one-on-one conversation, and even sex. A complete loss of interest in activities that once fully engaged your attention is an early indicator of depression.

  2. Physical discomfort and pain:

    In addition to mental anguish, physical pain, including pain from digestive problems, tension headaches, back or muscle aches, and chest pain similar to what one experiences when having a heart attack, often accompanies depression. Stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, all by-products of depression, can constrict your muscles, produce excessive stomach acid, and increase your blood pressure. If you’re experiencing these symptoms consistently for several days, visit your doctor or the nearest emergency room so you can be properly diagnosed.

  3. Insomnia:

    We separated insomnia from the other above named physical ailments since sleep disorders, including insomnia, can bring on depression or be a symptom resulting from it. On the other hand, extended wakefulness can improve the brain’s neurotransmitter system, and some doctors believe insomnia may be an attempt by the body to combat and stop the onset of depression. To make things even more confusing, a third of people with depression oversleep, rather than lose sleep. If you are experiencing a sleep disorder, be it too much sleep or not enough, this may be an indicator of depression.

  4. Irritability:

    Men who suffer from depression are often irritable or even physically confrontational. Our society conditions men to “buck up” when they feel weak, ignore feelings of remorse and sadness, and let’s not talk about crying! The thoughts and physical symptoms that come with depression can inspire very intense and reactive displays of anger from men. However, women, who are more likely than men to experience depression, may also exhibit symptomatic signs of irritability and lashing out.

  5. Anxiety:

    Many people diagnosed with depression are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, which is a separate and treatable condition. Some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders are the same as or similar to those for depression, including irritability, excessive worrying, and physical restlessness. As a result, people may confuse the two to be one in the same. However, anxiety and depression are two different conditions, and there is no evidence that anxiety causes depression or vice versa.

  6. Feelings of guilt and helplessness:

    Depression can bring startling changes to a person’s personality, including an overwhelming sense of guilt and helplessness. Depression exaggerates your negative thoughts, especially your own sense of self-worth, and insidiously, intensifies a casual verbal exchange to a level of completely unfounded drama. (He didn’t text me back! He hates me!)

  7. Thoughts of suicide:

    Thoughts of suicide are another symptom of depression. And one out of 10 people suffering from depression makes an actual attempt to kill themselves. When the late news anchor Mike Wallace and his wife went to their doctor to see if Wallace might be suffering from clinical depression, the doctor apparently told them, “Forget the word ‘depression,’ because that’ll be bad for your image.” Perhaps not surprisingly, after Wallace attempted suicide by taking several sleeping pills, CBS euphemistically reported that he had been admitted to a hospital ‘suffering from exhaustion.’ Wallace recovered and went on to write and speak publicly about his battle with depression, and hoped that by doing so, he could inspire people experiencing its symptoms to seek out medical attention.