We all feel down once in a while. It’s part of being human. But when that sadness interferes with daily life, affects your physical well-being and causes you to withdraw or even self-harm, it’s time to seek help.
As cited on the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) website, if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms for at least two weeks (whether a few or many), you could be suffering from depression.
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Decreased energy, fatigue and lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
- Changes in weight and/or appetite
- Thoughts of death or suicide and/or suicide attempts
- Restlessness and irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms (headaches, back pain, joint pain, digestive problems)
If you’re suffering from clinical depression, aka, depressive disorder, be assured that it’s not a deficiency in your character, either. Rather, the NIMH explains, depression is an illness caused by factors including brain biology, chemistry, genetics and traumatic or stressful life events. Some medical conditions and medications can also be factors.
The good news: While it’s not something that typically disappears on its own, depression is treatable with psychotherapy (talk therapy), antidepressant medications or a combination of both. So be sure to reach out. You don’t have to suffer in silence.