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SIGNS OF EARLY DEPRESSION
By Dr. Talat Habib
Most of us are aware of the more outward signs of depression, such as frequent crying, lack of motivation, etc. But often by the time these symptoms are visible, the depression has already progressed. Read on to learn about some less obvious hidden signs that can help identify early stage depression.
Trigger Events for Depression
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems. Approximately 17% of the people in the US will have a depressive episode sometime in their lifetime. The most likely age for developing depression is between 30 and 40. Everyone feels down from time to time, though, so how do you know when it’s time to get help? If a particular situation preceded your depression, you might be wondering whether you need to seek treatment. The most frequent contributor to situational depression is a loss or perceived loss of some kind.
The loss can be something concrete, such as loss of a job, loss of property, or loss of a relationship. Alternately, the loss might be less tangible, as in the case of loss of prestige or loss of power. However, sometimes the inciting event is less clear. Sometimes, you start to struggle with depression even though your current circumstances seem ideal. Either way, here’s the key point: Depression doesn’t arise from the external events of your life, however challenging they might be. Rather, it arises from your internal experience.
Depression doesn’t arise from the external events of your life; it arises from your internal experience.
What Is Depression, Really?
Consider: Some people who experience losses feel grief and sadness, but not depression. Why is that? It’s because depression actually has more to do with anger than sadness. Depression can and does arise after loss, but it’s really about unexpressed, stuffed-down anger. It’s normal to feel sad in the wake of a significant loss. However, if you cannot express your anger and you’re turning it inward against yourself, you’re depressed and it’s time to get help.
Outward Signs of Depression
How do you tell if you have turned your anger inward against yourself? Outward signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling numb and apathetic
- Crying often
- Lacking energy and motivation
- Not getting pleasure out of previously pleasurable activities
- Withdrawing from society, friends, and loved ones
Even with the increased acceptance of mental health problems, there still is stigma attached to depression. That’s one reason to learn about hidden signs of depression … they can be missed unless you know what to look for!
7 Hidden Signs of Depression
- Hair Pulling
Trichotillomania, or hair pulling, may be a hidden sign of depression. Some people channel feelings of frustration, grief, and anger through pulling the hair of the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes. While this condition can be difficult to treat, there are therapeutic modalities that can help you to heal from it. Consider taking a look at trichstop online for more information.
- Struggling To Get Out Of Bed
Do you have a tough time even getting out of bed? Do you struggle for hours trying to scrape up the energy to do so? Does your energy level hit bottom even with sufficient sleep? That’s a sign of depression.
- Looking “Normal”
Many people who suffer from depression cover it up pretty well. They may portray themselves as upbeat and happy, putting on a false front for all of their friends. Then, when they are by themselves, they feel the front collapsing. This is exhausting!
People who are depressed may irritable as well. This is one of the first signs of impending depression. (Remember, depression is anger turned inward!) This irritability may come from the person’s increasing difficulty to stay focused and their knowledge that something is wrong. Plus, keeping up with responsibilities in the face of decreasing energy can lead people toward irritability.
- Not Eating Normally
People suffering from depression often have difficulty with appetite. They may eat more than usual, or go all day without eating. This pattern can lead to gaining weight or losing too much. They may turn to comfort foods in an effort to gain relief from the pain of depression. On the other hand, they may lose all interest in food because it brings them no happiness.
- Negative Outlook
Depressed people have a difficult time feeling optimistic about anything. Professionals have found research evidence that supports what is called “depressive realism.” This occurs when depressed people begin seeing the world in a way that indicates how little influence they have on it. This hidden sign of depression may show up as tenacious pessimism.
- Feelings of Guilt
Often when people are depressed, they also feel guilty for the things that happen in their lives, whether or not they were responsible. By contrast, they may feel guilty because they didn’t do or say something. This guilt is often irrational. Along with this feeling of guilt comes a feeling of worthlessness. Their false guilt is telling them they aren’t worth anything because they did or didn’t do something.
If you have these hidden signs of depression or know someone who does, don’t struggle alone. There is no reason to suffer for years when help is readily available.