Body

Sat, 16 Feb, 2019Basmah Qazi

5 things you might not realise can be signs of depression

5 things you might not realise can be signs of depression

We all know about depression. It is a debilitating illness, and while feeling sad and alone are obvious symptoms, many subtle signs are swept under the rug.

Whether one of your loved ones have suffered from the illness, or you’ve heard about it through the grapevine, the mental disorder is one that does not discriminate. Regardless of age, gender, class or creed, anyone can suffer from depression.

But how do you know if you’re on the road to a depressive disorder? Most people know the obvious signs, such as sleeping too much, losing interest in social gatherings and constantly feeling down, but it’s important to understand the less obvious symptoms.

Subtle signs can help you decide whether you need to seek help.

There is a big difference between feeling sad – which is a temporary emotion that will subside – and depression. Which carries a number of specific characteristics and can be ongoing.

Here are the 5 signs you need to look out for when it comes to your mental health:

1. You’re easily irritated

You’re becoming easily agitated with friends and family. Things that generally don’t affect you are now causing you to feel rage. Or maybe you’re dealing with sporadic mood swings. Speaking to Buzzfeed, counsellor Elizabeth Black of the Renfrew Centre said the feeling of constant irritation is an underrated sign of depression.

“It can be challenging to have patience or compassion for those who present as irritable and therefore harder to identify when it is a sign of depression,” she said.

2. You’re looking back to the “good ol’ days”

Everyone has memories that they enjoy revisiting from time to time, but constantly living in the past is a sign of something more serious.

“Many people who struggle with depression look back to the good old days as a coping mechanism,” says psychologist Dr. Sal Raichbach to Buzzfeed.

“A depressed person might feel great for years but then plunge back into their sadness when a loss or a major life change occurs. Fun times in the past help them feel better temporarily.”

3. You’re finding it hard to concentrate

According to psychologist Dr. Cindy Graham, the negative thoughts that come with depression makes it harder for those with the illness to concentrate on things such as work. Many times, lack of concentration is misdiagnosed as ADHD, especially when medical professionals are unaware of the negative thoughts clouding your mind.

4. You’re finding “me time” to be stressful

Many adults look forward to the moment they can get a few hours to themselves, but for someone who is depressed, lack of plans bring about feelings of anxiousness.

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Dr. Graham said: “These moments [of downtime] may feel heavenly and highly sought after by some, but for someone struggling with depression, downtime leads to plenty of opportunity for negative thoughts to run unchecked.”

5. You’re feeling guilty about everything

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) “inappropriate and excessive guilt” is a sign of depression.

This can range from feeling bad about something that happened at work which was out of your control, or feeling responsible for something that you had no part in. APA gave this as an example: “A realtor may become preoccupied with self-blame for failing to make sales even when the market has collapsed generally, and other realtors are equally unable to make sales.”

While these are only five symptoms of many, if you believe you may have depression be sure to visit your doctor to get a diagnosis.

If you are troubled by this article, experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide, you can call the Depression Helpline at 0800 111 757 or visit depression.org.nz.