One purpose of this site is to educate and de-stigmatize depression and mental illness, not only for you the reader, but for myself. It may sound cliche, but Knowledge is Power. The better we understand anything, the more equipped we are to deal. Below are seven signs of depression addressed in a Psychology Today article. If these look familiar, try to be patient and empathetic with yourself and others. Often we don’t see what’s happening, or we spend our energy denying that we could be unwell.

This was a big issue for me, at the height of my own period of depression I was very irritable. My patience was extremely short—with myself and others.

Sleep Difficulties
This was a chicken or egg thing. It’s hard to say if sleep deprivation was a cause, or symptom, of my depression. I think it works both ways. Point being, don’t underestimate the importance of sleep.

Aches and Pains
I dealt with more aches and pains for certain, particularly in the lower back and knees. I eventually took a good deal of time off from training (running) to allow my body to recover.

Via Psychology Today
There’s an incredible link between your body and your mind. When you’re struggling with mental health issues, you’re likely to experience physical problems.

Decreased Energy
Well, this was a given. I felt I needed to sleep all the time—an hour after waking I needed a nap.

Feelings of Guilt
Yep. Honestly, I still deal with these feelings. Another chicken and egg, cause and/or symptom.

Reckless Behavior

Via PT
People who look like party animals on the outside are often suffering from depression on the inside. Frequent gambling, risky sexual behavior, and substance abuse may be attempts to mask unpleasant emotions.

This one is tricky. I agree with the statement made by the psychotherapist in the cited article, however, I’m not certain I agree with the masking of unpleasant emotions. My own experience is that I don’t feel enough. When depressed my senses become dulled. Perhaps the lows get lower, but the whole scale slides so the highs are harder to achieve. Reckless behavior, drinking, pushing physical limits—whatever they may be—are an attempt to feel more, to feel alive. Maybe at the same time I am ‘masking unpleasant emotions’?

Concentration Problems
This was also a significant issue. I was forgetting simple things like where I put my keys (which made me very irritable) and I became absent minded. I tried chalking it up to aging, but my memory and concentration have improved since.

I’ll add an eighth sign. Disconnection.
Often when depressed we disconnect from people. We feel ashamed. We don’t want to burden others with our low energy, irritability, or pessimism. I recognize this being a big issue personally. As an introvert it is particularly difficult as I must nurture my need for solitude, but balance social interaction and personal connection. The crux is the further you disconnect often the harder it becomes to re-engage. I continually remind myself that it’s o.k. to be how I am, while recognizing that at times I must push beyond my comfort zone for the long-term greater good. By far, this is the most challenging symptom (or cause?)—not just for myself, but for those wanting to connect with me.

These are just a few issues that one may deal with if depressed along with how they took form in my own life. Read full descriptors of each symptom on Psychology Today.

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