Most people have misconceptions that sadness and depression are similar. Sadness can be due to grief. It is possible that you lost a loved one or lost a job. Sadness is usually temporary in nature. People move on from such temporary feelings and continue living happily. A breakup causes temporary grief, but people move on eventually and find another soul to love.
On the other hand, depression is the continued feeling of sadness which does not seem to go away. It can last up to two weeks. Depressed people only see the negative aspects of life. They no longer enjoy the things they used to love doing.
Depression affects how you feel. It interferes with your work, school life, and even your sleep. The question is – What is the first sign of depression?
The signs of depression can vary depending on the age and environment a person is in. It is therefore not possible to say which symptom will occur first.
Depression occurs in episodes. It starts with a giddy feeling in your stomach and an unexplainable feeling inside the heart. These episodes can be difficult to notice. Most people think they are just sad and try coping with their situation. It can be difficult to cope especially when your case is severe.
There are some categories of depression depending on how serious it is. Mild depression is the least harmful. Severe depression prevents you from doing anything meaningful with your life. It is the most serious, and such patients generally require medical attention.
Pregnant women may develop post-natal depression after giving birth. This is normal and is treated with special care since the mother is still breastfeeding.
Bipolar disorder refers to excessive episodes of depression which causes the patient to do things in excess. These may include overspending or staying in your room for too long.
Most signs of depression are general and easily recognized. The list below outlines some signs which are most common in depressed people. A person may not experience all of them but if you have most for about two weeks, it is better to see your psychiatrist.
Signs of Depression
You feel you have no control over your life and that nothing will ever get better.
Being sad all day continuously for a long period is usually associated with depression. You feel empty inside and, no longer enjoy life. Adolescents and children may cry a lot during this period. Adults get irritated easily.
Loss of interest
You lose interest in activities you previously found enjoyable. Daily tasks such as house chores become boring. If you notice a diminished interest in your life every day, you may be depressed.
Depressed people have irregular changes in appetite. Some lose the urge to eat while others eat too much when stressed. A sudden change in weight is common in depressed people.
Changes in sleep
The patient may experience difficulties when sleeping or waking up. Oversleeping is very common. People with severe cases spend a lot of time indoors. Being stressed usually prevents people from having quality sleep.
This is where you are unable to sit still due to being stressed. You cannot easily control your body movements, and your speech may get affected. Such people are usually restless.
In other cases, people experience decreased levels of activity. Their movements and speech are low. Such people make slow decisions that interfere with their lives.
Depression makes people have a loss of energy. Feeling tired most days in a week can be a sign of depression.
Depressed people normally feel worthless. If someone they loved has died, they feel like they could have done better. They feel guilty of actions that they clearly had no control over.
Depressed people may have trouble with concentrating. Understanding a situation usually takes time for them. They are therefore more prone to making poor decisions than ordinary people. Even simple tasks such as what to eat are hard for them.
Some patients have reported actual physical pain when depressed. These may include headaches, back pains, indigestion and many more.
When someone suddenly starts drinking too much alcohol and using other drugs, they most likely have a deep problem.
Depressed people turn to drugs, so they do not have to feel pain dampen their senses. This helps them forget their problems temporarily.
Depressed people feel alone in the world. They feel detached from society. Such thoughts can make them hurt themselves or even think of suicide. If you know someone who keeps making comments that may be suicidal, advise them to seek medical attention.
How to cope with negative thoughts and get out of depression?
If you are having any of these symptoms for several days, you may be depressed. The first step is to speak up. Talking to your friends can actually make you feel better. Seek help. Do not hide your feelings inside. You should also try these methods to help you feel better.
See a psychiatrist. These are professionals who will diagnose your problem, and give you a way forward. You also join a therapy group where people can freely express themselves.
A psychiatrist can also prescribe medication for you in case you have a severe case.
Regular exercise helps in general body health. It also helps your body release chemicals known as endorphins. These are responsible for giving you a good feeling.
Exercising allows you to spend more time outdoors. Research has shown that exposure to sunlight and being outside can brighten your mood.
Avoid destructive habits
These include drug abuse and self-harming thoughts. Drugs interfere with your treatment. They also prevent you from thinking properly.
Sleep allows your body to rest from the day’s activities. Toxic chemicals and elements are removed from the body. These chemicals if left to accumulate can increase the risk of getting stressed.
High-fat content foods are associated with heart diseases and stress. Avoid such foods as they can trigger your depression. Eating healthy promotes general body health.
If you have ever had a depression episode before, try to find out which of the events gets you depressed. This will help you avoid such situations in the future. Remember that preventing depression is better than treating it.