What's the real difference between low mood and depression? As a therapist, I'm often asked…
We all have bad days feeling down and the outlook looking bleak. It’s normal – no one can feel happy all the time. But how do we know when sadness and low mood are something more? What are the signs of depression?
Over my long career I have helped many people struggling with depression. Moreover, the sooner you spot the signs and seek help, the better. Not all the signs of depression are easy to spot.
However, here are ten possible indicators to look out for.
1. Tiredness & Apathy
Are you lacking in energy? Even for those activities that previously excited you? Maybe your sleep pattern is disturbed? Or, are you spending more time in bed feeling fatigued?
2. Irritability & Aggression
When feeling sad, hopeless or lost, some people can also feel angry. This can manifest itself as aggression or hostility. Are you feeling angry without knowing why? It could be you’re suffering with depression.
3. Appetite & Weight Change
People who previously enjoyed cooking and food may suddenly lose interest and forget to eat. Conversely, a slim, healthy person may suddenly start comfort eating. Drastic changes in weight or a changed relationship with food can be a sign of depression.
4. Trouble Concentrating or Making Simple Decisions
Simple questions such as what to wear, where you want to go for dinner can a become a minefield. You may simply not care enough about the answer. A tired and clouded mind struggles to concentrate on even simple tasks.
5. Unexplained Aches & Pains
The body often manifests depression physically as aches and pains or headaches. As the body becomes less active, it becomes more tired and less nourished. Unfortunately, becoming less healthy as well. Moreover, our darkened mind notices and escalates every single pain.
6. Anxiety and Negative Thoughts
A person with depression may be unable to shake negative or damaging thoughts. They may obsess over past failures, guilt or fears or feel anxious or paranoid.
7. Change in Music Tastes
A drastic change in someone’s musical tastes can be a sign of what’s going on in their mind. Perhaps only listening to sad music. Or avoiding anything that reminds them of a certain person or event.
8. Loss of Identity
People with depression just don’t seem themselves anymore. They may lose their sense of humour, communicate less or seem less loving or caring. Perhaps they struggle to spend time with their family or have given up on previously loved hobbies.
9. Substance Abuse
Many depressed people turn to drink or drugs to numb themselves or help them sleep. If you feel like your relationship with either of these is becoming damaging you should seek professional help.
Spending increasing amounts of time alone can be a sign of depression. This is due to finding little pleasure in other people’s company. As well as feeling like you can’t connect with them anymore. In short they don’t understand you and your reality.
Professional Help for Depression
Sometimes it can be hard to talk to your friends and family about these symptoms. So many people are turning to a neutral and supportive professional for help. I have helped many people overcome depression And I can help you too. If you’d like to discuss any of the above symptoms please do get in touch.