“Depressed people are always crying and complaining about things—and that’s not me. I’ve been exhausted lately, but I think that’s different.” Many people do report feeling sad or blue when they are depressed, but some don’t describe it that way. Some people may continue to work and take care of their responsibilities, but find it takes them longer to complete tasks. Concentrating becomes more difficult. They may be distracted by recently developed aches, pains, and fatigue.
While you may not describe yourself as sad, you may have the feeling that your friends are too busy for you. You may not see the point in trying to help other people or doing your job well. You may feel like things just don’t matter. You may have told yourself that if you could just get enough sleep, you’d feel better. But if you have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, this may also be a sign that you have depression. Others find themselves sleeping much more than usual. As weeks go by in this tired, empty state, it begins to seem like nothing will ever change. You may not feel like eating much and have probably given up your hobbies or favorite games.
When some of these feelings (hopelessness, meaninglessness, loneliness, and purposelessness) and physical signs (difficulty sleeping, loss of concentration, slower movements, decreased appetite) occur together, you could be depressed. It is a good idea to get a “check up” from a counselor or mental health professional. This is actually quite common, since every year, 1 in 15 people experience depression.
Depression can look different from person to person. Sometimes depression may require medication to see improvement. Other times, talking to a counselor and making specific changes in our routine can improve depression. Often a combination of medication and therapy is best. Untreated depression can become debilitating over time, so it is important to begin talking with friends, family, and professionals about the best way to help you feel better in the long run.
Written by Ian Nelson, LLP intern