Monday, July 30, 2012

Warning Signs of Depression

My most recent episode of depression hit me like a truck back in January. It was steady but it came on fast. Because I had suffered from it before, I knew what was wrong almost immediately once it had occurred to me that something was wrong. The smart thing to do at that point would have been to seek counseling or a psychiatrist. Instead I let it rage on because I was too unmotivated to save myself. I think deep down I was prepared to self-destruct. Not only was I ready for it, I wanted it. The pain was so great that I would have done almost anything to make it stop forever. Getting treatment wouldn't keep it away. It would come back. It always came back.

Everyone should know what to look for. Sometimes depression just builds up over the years. Other times something happens that kicks the development into overdrive, such as a stressful life event. Whether fast or slow, here are the things to look out for:

  • Sleeping too much or too little. -- I couldn't get out of bed. When I did, I stayed up all night because I couldn't fall back asleep no matter how tired I was.
  • Eating too much or too little. -- I couldn't eat for a week or two at my worst. Other times I would stuff my face til I was a bite away from exploding.
  • Fatigue -- My whole body was constantly tired. Just going to the bathroom took massive amounts of energy that I didn't have.
  • Feeling worthless -- Everything I did felt like it was for nothing because I just wasn't good for anything. I didn't think I added much, if anything, to the world at that point.
  • Feeling hopeless -- I felt like nothing was going to change. I was going to be cursed to a life of a depression, where nothing would ever get better because I wasn't motivated enough to try.
  • Loss of interest -- Class didn't interest me. Video games didn't interest me. Hanging out with my friends was almost the last thing I wanted to do. The only thing I ever wanted to do was sleep.
  • Thoughts of suicide -- Even just a quick, passing thought of how you'd be better off dead should be a warning sign. Recognizing these thoughts and, more importantly, confiding in someone else may end up saving a life.

Depression hits people of all ages, races, religions, and locations. If you think something is wrong, there is a good chance that you're right. Get help. You deserve to be happy.

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