Signs Of Depression You Need Know About


Depression is not something that can be diagnosed easily. Not clinical depression anyway. Periodic depression is a normal part of life and rarely runs as deep. At the same time, it seems that more and people are diagnosed with this malady each year.

Everyone has bad days, even bad weeks, when they don’t feel quite themselves. Even the happiest of souls can suffer from short periods of sadness. It’s when these bad periods last longer than a few weeks that medical advise should be sought.

For a list of very helpful books on this subject see the next post in this series.


How To Know When To See You Doctor

There are no quick tests that can definitively say a person is depressed. It’s not like testing for Diabetes or pregnancy. Just like there are no quick fixes.

But, there are signs to watch for that fall into three categories; Physical, Behavior, and Emotional.


Physical Signs

These are very hard to pinpoint as a result of depression. But, physical signs coupled with signs from other categories are very helpful in determining depression, level of depression, and medical steps to move forward with. Some are just hard to see, such as cutting, which is a behavioral sign, but has physical results. Most people who self-harm will not leave marks where they can be easily spotted.

  • Getting sick a lot (colds, flus, etc)
  • Frequent headaches and muscle pains
  • Frequent muscle pain
  • Being tired a lot
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Over-eating
  • Restlessness
  • Lacking energy or strength
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Digestive problems
  • not getting better – even under doctors care – for symptoms like those above


Emotion Signs 

Emotion signs has two sub-categories; Thoughts and Feelings. Many mistake them as the same, but think of it this way… Feelings describe moods and Thoughts center around beliefs.

Feelings include;

  • guilt
  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • lack of confidence
  • DISINTEREST in regular ACTIVITIES/tasks
  • indesiciveness
  • General unhappiness
  • frustration
  • overwhelmed
  • emptiness


Thoughts include;

  • I’m Worthless
  • I’m a failure
  • I’ts my fault
  • I deserve bad things to happen to me
  • Suicide is an option
  • I’m unlovable
  • There’s no hope
  • I’ve nothing to be proud of
  • I’m weak



Behavioral Signs

Many times behavioral signs of depression go unnoticed. There can be a number of reasons for this. A person may become adept at hiding them from others. This often leads to deeper depression.  Sometimes a person is not close to others and that limits how noticeable behavioral signs are to self and to others. Also, when a person lives in denial, there a few limits to disguising signs.

  • Not going out
  • not getting things done at work/school/home
  • missing appointments
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • trouble remembering details
  • being or becoming disorganized
  • Not experiencing joy with things that used to bring happiness
  • Self-Harm
  • Routine ACTIVITIES like PERSONAL grooming, shopping, reading emails are INCREASINGLY difficult

As part of my masters program in sociology I created a workbook for a live case. The idea, in part, was inspired by worksheets my own doctor suggested I use. I’m going to go over these in the next few weeks and will make a package of printable worksheets available for free download.

Until then, think about the signs I have posted and consider if they apply to you, or someone you know. As with many medical-related issues, early detection can make a major difference.

Some of these signs may be obvious, or to read them they seem obvious. But, it’s amazing how easy it can be to attribute these signs to other factors – winter blues, relationship woes, a major life change. And, in truth, there may be many reasons to have some of these signs.

For most, it’s the time-table to look at. When these signs persist for longer than a stretch of a few weeks, it may be something deeper than “winter blues” bringing you down. If you think there’s a chance you may be depressed, I recommend seeing your primary doctor.

If you think a person you love or care about has multiple symptoms for longer than a normal time-span, it could be they are suffering from depression. They may not even be aware of it. It can be a tough discussion to bring up, but it is worth bringing up.

It’s okay to ask someone if they are depressed, or if they might be.

'It's hard to be a friend to someone who's depressed, but it's one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.' Stephen Fry Click To Tweet

One last note for today… embarrassment is frequently a reason people hide their depression, and a reason many are afraid to discuss the subject. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from seeking help, or from helping another.

I have been having bouts of depression and anxiety for years. It wan’t always easy for me to discuss. Sometimes, it still isn’t. There are times I am just exhausted from trying to keep them at bay. But, talking about it, writing, and lots of effort are necessary self-care tasks.

Has depression or anxiety ever affected you, your life, you actions?

 Signs Of Depression You Need To Know


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2 Comments on "Signs Of Depression You Need Know About"

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V Wilson

Thanks, Nisi. This was a good article. My daughter suffers from depression and exhibits many of the symptoms you describe. Luckily, she is under a doctor’s care, but to date, the doctor hasn’t been much help. It’s frustrating for her and for us. So hard to treat.