What is Depression?

According to the dictionary, the definition to depression is a “state of feeling sad” however, depression is more than “feeling sad.” Depression is a common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, act, and think.

10 signs of depression that can vary from mild to severe include:

  • Enduring Sadness- Depression is characterized by an enduring sense of sadness which inhabits the mind completely. Depressed individuals feel a sense of utter hopelessness and defeat as if life is completely meaningless.
  • Self-Loathing Attitude- Many depressed individuals direct their misery inwards, blaming their own selves for everything that does not meet their expectation. They become extremely self-critical and doubt their ability to achieve anything at all.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed- Depressed individuals find it very difficult to be suitably involved in routine activities at work, home, or elsewhere.   Weighed down by their sadness, they cannot bring themselves to concentrate and engage in any task.
  • Irritability & Isolation- Depressed individuals lose all their social bearings & are unable to act in a socially appropriate manner.  They are irritable in their interaction with others- no matter who they be; their family, friend, or boss even.
  • Anxiety- Low self-worth, coupled with the inability to do anything productive or even engage with others’ socially, leads individuals to become anxious. They worry about their personal & professional future; that they are likely to fail at both.
  • Loss of Energy or increased fatigue- Fatigue & lack of energy are typically witnessed in depressed individuals.  Their sense of defeat is so severe that they do not feel capable of accomplishing even the smallest tasks.
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much- Depressed individuals usually suffer from disturbed sleep patterns. In some cases, they develop insomnia. More often, however, those depressed tend to sleep excessively, remaining in bed for an unhealthy amount of time.
  • Changes in appetite & body weight- Change in appetite, both complete lack of hunger & excessive binge eating, are very common.  The corresponding changes to belly weight either lead to significant weight loss or massive weight gain.
  • Reckless behavior- With depression, one’s regular behavioral patterns & tendencies get altered. Even the most cautious individuals may indulge in reckless, unthinking activity.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide- Perhaps the most telling & dangerous symptom of depression.  People with this mood disorder spend a great amount of time thinking about self-harm.

Now that you have a better understanding of the symptoms, let’s talk about how you can overcome these symptoms.

  • Talk to a therapist- Talking with a therapist allows you to address your life stressors while learning to improve your self-esteem, switch from negative to positive thinking, and practice stress management.
  • Express yourself in writing- Journaling allows you to relieve stress by being open about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your writing.
  • Boost your self-image- Challenge yourself to focus on your positive traits. For every negative thought, challenge it was three positive ones.
  • Create a routine- Maintaining a healthy routine is important when motivation levels are low to prevent feelings of being unproductive.
  • Stay involved- Push yourself to stay involved with friends and family. It can be easy to want to isolate yourself but it is important to stay socially connected.
  • Lean on supports- Friends and family can help you feel better about yourself when your depression is bringing you down. They can encourage you to utilize your coping skills, exercise, eat healthy, and generally take care of yourself.
  • Exercise- Exercise offers physiological benefits that can help people going through depression. Physical activity relieves stress and makes you feel great.
  • Diet and nutrition- Eating a healthy diet can make you feel healthy and fit which improves self-esteem, while feeling unhealthy can worsen depression and play into negative self-perception.

Depression is a real illness but there is help available. With the proper treatment, the majority of individuals with depression will overcome it. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, the first step is to reach out to a primary care physician to express your concerns or a therapist for a consultation.

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1012 Ekstam Dr Ste 3
Bloomington, IL 61704

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