Depression is a mood disorder that’s frequently underdiagnosed and misunderstood. Many people have a vision of what depression looks like, so they may not realize when they are experiencing it themselves (or seeing signs in a loved one). Unfortunately, rates of depression are on the rise. One study in 2020 indicated that the number of adults experiencing depression had tripled, which is not surprising due to the social isolation and stress of the global pandemic. Even as some sense of normalcy has returned to daily life with widespread availability of the coronavirus vaccine, it’s not uncommon to be feeling depressed as COVID-19 continues to disrupt regular activities and deepen social divides.
Regardless of the cause, recognizing that there is something wrong is an important step towards getting the help you need. If you are struggling with depression, you may find help through antidepressants, talk therapy, lifestyle changes, or a combination of all three.
Depression doesn’t look the same in everyone.
When you think of depression, you may picture a disorder that is completely debilitating. However, many people experiencing depression are able to mask their symptoms to a degree and continue moving through daily life—they may just also find that it’s more difficult to participate in normal activities, keep up with self-care, or feel a sense of joy in their lives.
While depression is more than simply feeling down or having the blues, it isn’t always marked solely by feelings of sadness, and it may not look the same in everyone. In particular, men and women tend to experience this mood disorder much differently. Men may express more anger and participate in risky activities because of depression, while women may struggle more internally and experience higher degrees of anxiety in addition to common depression symptoms.
Recognizing the Signs of Depression
You may not experience every sign of depression at once or feel symptoms all the time. However, if you feel that you trend toward a negative mood, it may be time to seek help. If the following signs resonate with you, depression could be the cause.
- Finding the joy in life has become difficult, and you may feel stuck in your routine or hopeless about the future.
- You feel persistently tired and don’t feel like you have the energy to take on your day.
- You’ve lost motivation to take care of yourself or feel that you’re not worth self-care.
- Activities you once enjoyed now seem hollow or even burdensome. You may also find that it’s more difficult to engage in social activities.
- You feel frequently irritable or quick to anger. Things that normally wouldn’t bother you have become annoying and agitating.
- Your appetite has fluctuated, and you now tend to skip meals or overeat. These changes often lead to unintentional weight gain or weight loss as well.
- You cannot concentrate on work or hobbies. It’s tough to focus, and you often feel indecisive.
- There have been changes in your personal relationships—you have begun avoiding contact with friends and family or finding yourself in more arguments with your loved ones.
- You’re engaging in risky, self-destructive habits like drinking, drug use, or unprotected sexual activity. You may also have thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or death.
- You experience unexplained physical pains or weakness—depression affects the brain in many ways and can manifest with physical signs in addition to changes in your mood.
Depression can be difficult to cope with because of the many ways it may express itself. It’s also harder to find the motivation to reach out for help when you continue to experience intrusive thoughts telling you that you aren’t worth it. But help is available, and you deserve to feel better. Find the care you need to get back to your life with MeMD. We can connect you with a therapist in as little as 24 hours, so request a visit today.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.