Am I depressed?

Am I depressed? How do I know if I am experiencing depression?

There is so much attention given to Mental Health disorders in the media that many people are curious and somewhat confused. Is a low mood or fluctuating mood indicative of depression?  If I feel sad is that depression? What is ‘normal’ and how would I know?

Depression is a common mental health issue that can impact anyone.In fact 20% of Australians will experience depression at some stage during their lifetime.

Depression is a term used for a wide range of moods and depressive disorders. It may be mild or severe with a broad range of presentations.   Some people feel a bit ‘flat’ for a short time whilst others may find their life significantly impacted to the point where they can’t function, can’t get out of bed or face their usual daily activities.  And this may persist for weeks, months or years.

So what are the signs of depression?  What are the symptoms?

Here is a list of some of the key indicators of depression.

  • Flat mood.  Everyone experiences fluctuating moods but when a low mood persists it may be indicative of depression.
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities.  This is when life becomes difficult and you can’t be bothered with the everyday things you normally do.
  • Negative self talk.  A focus on the things that are not going well and seeing the world through a mist of negativity can impact the way you feel about yourself and others.  This can drag your mood down.
  • Social withdrawal.  Drawing away from other people or dropping out of activities, making excuses not to go out or hang with friends can be an indicator.
  • Feeling numb.  Some people describe a sense of numbness or unfeeling.  This can be quite disorientating and unsettling. Some people describe it as a fog or a haze that they can’t shift.
  • Chronic fatigue.  This is quite common.  Feeling listless and bereft of physical energy may impact your ability to do and enjoy the normal things of daily life.
  • Reduced libido.   A lack of interest or motivation to engage in sex may occur, and may result in relationship difficulties as well as cause you to question what is really going on.
  • Change in sleeping habits.   Any significant change to usual sleep patterns such as difficulty sleeping, being wakeful, or sleeping much more than usual is a possible indicator of depression.
  • Change in eating habits. A reduced appetite or changes in when or what you eat may be experienced by someone with depression.
  • Sadness and tearfulness.  Feeling sad for extended periods and becoming tearful easily are common symptoms of people experiencing depression. The tears may flow for no apparent reason, and are often difficult to stop.
  • Sense of hopelessness and despair.  A sense of doom and gloom may pervade your being in ways you don’t normally experience. For most people this can be a troubling experience as it can impact how you feel about yourself and others around you.  This can impact your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues and severely impact your capacity to fulfil work and other everyday requirements.

Depression can be treated!   If you think you or someone you know or care for has a depressive disorder seek assistance through your GP who will be able to point you in the right direction!

The earlier you seek support, the better.