Recognizing Symptoms of Depression

I wanted to write this post for a couple of reasons. 

First, I want to show you guys that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows since I’ve been able to improve my depression, (again, not cured). There are times where the nap, the journaling, the run, whatever coping method – doesn’t work. 

I want to be completely transparent with you guys. I don’t want to promote positivity and motivation when I don’t feel it myself. I want to be real with you because I recognize that even the happiest person on the planet has their bad days as well. It’s okay. 

Another main reason that I wanted to share this was to inform people on the symptoms of depression. I grew up thinking that you had to be suicidal, self harming, or constantly crying to have depression – and that’s not true. I don’t have issues with any of those things.. Except for a good cry every once in a while, but that’s normal. 

On the flip side, I understand that everyone has different severities of depression. Some people do experience suicidal thoughts, self harm, and the other things you’ve heard. But you can still have depression without these things. 

So without further adieu, here’s what I’ll usually experience..

Lack of motivation. This is the first thing to go, every time. I start to want to lay in bed for the entire day. I’ll tell myself that I’ll get some work done from my bed, which never happens. I’ll sit there on my phone for hours, knowing that I need to get things done, but ignoring it anyway. Then, I’ll sit there knowing that I’m upset with myself, but still not doing anything. 

Tiredness. I’m not sure if it’s the tiredness that causes the depression, or the depression that causes the tiredness. Either way, I get exhausted when I’m depressed. Once I started taking medicine for my depression, I made it a point to quit napping unless it’s absolutely necessary. Most days I don’t need to – but when I’m depressed, I can’t keep my eyes open. I will sleep for a full 8 hours and then still need multiple naps throughout the day. I truly don’t know what causes this.. (So if any of you guys happen to know, shoot me a DM cause I’m interested to learn.) 

Overwhelm. I’m a very busy person. I’m in school, have 2 jobs, and work tirelessly on blog content. I also want to have a social life, be an active member in my sorority, be active on a daily basis, stay clean and organized, and be constantly growing and participating in my faith (which also takes a lot of work). Anyway, there’s more but you get the point. So when I start to realize the million things on my plate, I start to get extremely overwhelmed because all I want to do is lay in bed. Or, on the other hand, I’ve laid in bed for a couple of days and I know it’ll take weeks to catch up.. Either way, I’ll always feel overwhelmed. 

Irritation. The littlest things get on my absolute last nerve. I can literally drop a pen and want to freak out. There’s like a 90% chance that I’ll get irritated with someone over something they’ve said or how they reacted to something I told them. The worst thing about it though, is that it’s like a domino effect. Once I’m irritated about one thing, it’s SO much easier to get irritated about another. That’s why I always preach that mindset matters. 

The other thing about my irritation and anger is that I usually feel like I physically need to get it out.. like I need a punching bag or a super long run, and sometimes that can’t happen in the moment, which only leads me to getting more irritated. 

Withdrawal. Since I’m aware that I get unnecessarily angry when I’m depressed, I make it a point to step back from everyone. I don’t want to react poorly or out of anger, which normally happens if I don’t. I also don’t want to complain or put others in a negative mood just because I’m in one, so I just self-isolate. I’ll just ask people to reschedule plans or revisit a certain conversation later so I can go into it with a clear head and happier heart. 

Feeling stuck. Ever since I was diagnosed with depression, I’ve worked my ass off trying to self reflect and grow and learn how to deal with it. Since I’ve done that, I’m very self aware. I can tell when I’m overreacting, I can tell when I’m being dramatic, I know when I’m wrong.. (you get the point.) So I’ll know that I’m acting that way, but I still feel like I can’t change it.. Which is where I struggle the most in getting better. 

Bad eating habits. I will say that I have gotten better with this over time, but sometimes I still struggle. Honestly, my bad habits can go either way though.. Sometimes I’ll stress eat for comfort, and sometimes I’ll skip meals because I’m too stressed or upset to eat. The one good thing that can come from this though, is that I can recognize when I’m doing it, and work on fixing the problem instead of feeding (or not feeding) the habit. 

Getting sick (sometimes). This varies a lot. Mostly, I feel sick just when I forget to take my medicine. But other symptoms that I’ve experienced are extreme headaches, nausea from over or under eating, my body/bones can feel weak from staying in bed too long, I can get shakes if my anxiety is really bad, etc. But I do want to stress that this usually isn’t the case, maybe aside from the headaches and nausea (those are pretty common for me). 

Degrading myself. When I’m down, it’s sooo easy to beat myself up. “I didn’t accomplish anything today.” “My skin looks terrible.” “I look like I’ve gained 10 pounds.” “I can’t get all of this work done.” “I acted terribly towards her for no reason.” 

All of these things aren’t true. Well, maybe the skin thing is true (lol), I do struggle with acne. BUT – in all reality, I didn’t gain 10 pounds, I CAN get work done, I CAN apologize, and I CAN pull myself out of it.

Alright, I can’t currently think of anything else and it’s 10pm so I’m ready to shut my computer. That’s all I’ve got for you guys. Just remember these few key things..

  1. Just because you experience some of these things (or possibly even all of these things) doesn’t mean that you automatically have depression. Although, if you’re experiencing these things and are unsure, you should definitely check in with a doctor. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. 
  2. Just because you’re not experiencing most of these things, doesn’t mean that you don’t have depression. This is my story, and depression could look completely different to someone else.
  3. Just to further my first two points.. I also have bipolar disorder, OCD, and anxiety. I only listed the symptoms that I associate with depression (for this post), but that doesn’t mean that the other disorders don’t have an influence on the symptoms that I’ve felt/wrote. 
  4. Depression isn’t always just attached to the suicidal, physically emotional, self harming type of people that have been associated with it. The people who are popular, “always having fun”, constantly laughing and smiling – they can have it too. Coming from first hand experience, I know it’s really easy to hide when you feel like you need to. That’s why I always say to check in on your friends. 

Okay, that’s really it now. You guys have a good rest of the weekend and I’ll talk to you again on Wednesday! 🙂

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