Spotting the Signs of Depression

post by Si Martin

August, 22 2023

6 minute read

We gotta be able to spot the signs of depression.

Whether it’s noticing the signs in yourself, or spotting it in someone else, knowing what depression looks like means you can get the right help as early as possible.

Let’s just dive right into it.

Here are some of the most common signs of depression:

Constantly feeling sad, hopeless and empty

It’s common for people with depression to experience a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness that just won’t go away. With the key word being persistent. We’re all going to feel sad, and maybe even hopeless at times in life. But it’s when these feelings don’t go away that it becomes a real problem.

Not enjoying the stuff you usually would

Depression’s a nasty son-of-a-gun. It just robs you of feeling joy in general. One of the ways this rears its ugly head is you feeling a loss of interest or pleasure in the things that usually would bring you joy. This can affect hobbies, hanging out with your friends, or even work.

Changes in appetite or weight

Depression can also cause changes in appetite and/or weight. Some folks may find themselves eating more. Other folks may find themselves with just no appetite at all. But it’s important to remember that your physical and mental health are very closely linked. So doing your best to keep up a healthy, balanced diet where you can, is gonna do a bit to help keep this in check.

Trouble sleeping

Trouble sleeping isn’t exclusive to depression (hello energy drinks and TikTok). But it can be one of the signs of depression. It can disturb your usual sleeping patterns, which might mean you end up sleeping more than usual, or having real trouble actually getting to sleep. This in turn has a knock on effect for how you feel the next day. (Psst. You can find some tips on getting a good nights sleep in this blog post from a few years back!)

Fatigue or loss of energy

People with depression can often experience a lack of energy or feeling proper fatigued, even after a good night’s sleep. Everything just feels like a proper effort. This can make it difficult to complete daily tasks or engage in activities.

Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things

Depression can affect cognitive function. Which is a fancy way of saying it makes it harder your brain to do the stuff it’s built to do. This makes it hard to concentrate, make decisions, or remember things.

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

Depression can cause feelings of worthlessness or guilt, even when there is no reason to feel this way. These feelings can be really overwhelming and lead to you giving yourself a hard time.

Thoughts of death or suicide:

In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of death or suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing these thoughts, it’s important to seek help immediately. This is where a service like Papyrus can be really helpful. Here’s what you can expect if you call them.

This post might be a little heavy to read. So here’s a fluffy dog to help break it up.

What makes it full blown depression?

It’s perhaps important to note the difference between low mood and clinical depression too. Because everyone’s going to experience feeling low at some point. It sucks, but it’s true. However, clinical depression is when these signs – the loss of interest in hobbies, the constant fatigue, and difficulty concentrating – just don’t go away. When they stick around for a bit too long. That’s where it’s time to go looking for some help.

So what can you do once you’ve spotted the signs of depression?

Talk about it!

You’ll find all sorts of places to talk on our Helplines page. You can call these places whenever you need to. It doesn’t necessarily solve all your problems, but it helps to just de-tangle your thoughts and can help you figure out the next steps.

You can also speak to your doctor about it. They can help set you up on a more medical route. Sometimes that might include medication if that’s what’s right for you.

Or you can seek out talking therapies from counsellors. There’s a wicked service we got made aware of recently called YCS Counselling, which is well worth checking out.

Be kind to yourself

Sometimes it’s about waiting for the storm to pass. Sometimes it’s about just bunkering down and keeping yourself safe. But it’s always about going easy on yourself. You’re allowed to feel this way. And if you’re ill with depression, it’s really not all that different to being ill with the flu. You might just need to rest, and not beat yourself up for feeling the way you do.

Try something new

I get it. One of the main signs of depression is that you don’t enjoy the stuff you usually would, so why would you want to try something new? Honestly, it’s just a case of trying to break out of your current situation by putting yourself in a new one. Maybe that’s trying something like getting out The way I look at it is: if I’m already feeling this bad, I may as well give something – anything – a go. Cuz if I still just feel bad after trying something new, then I’m no worse off than when I started. But it might just help. Even if it’s just a little, for the time that you’re trying something new.

There’s a bunch of ideas over on our Things to Try page – all stuff that’s helped other people in the past too!

A final thought

Maybe you’ve read this post and you’ve gone “oh snap. That’s me”. Or you’ve seen these signs in someone close to you. It’s ok. You’re not the only person who’s felt this way. And if you’ve got depression, that doesn’t define you. There’s still more to you as a person than just your mental health. It can and it will get better. And reaching out for support is a sign of strength. It’s literally ok to ask for help. In fact it’s more than ok. It’s the best thing you can do. And if you’ve been waiting for a sign to make a start on doing something about your mental health, this is it.

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