Signs and symptoms of depression
Common symptoms of depression are feelings of sadness and hopelessness or an inability to derive pleasure from almost everything. You may also feel empty or discouraged. The symptoms of depression are often subtle at first. Often it's hard to recognize that your different symptoms may be connected and that you might be suffering from depression. Below is a list of common depression symptoms:
Changes in your feelings:
Depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you feel about your life and this often creates feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness. When you are depressed it is common to keep telling yourself negative things like "It's never ever going to get better", "There is nothing that I can do to improve my situation", "I am worthless", etc.
Loss of interest in your daily activities:
When you are depressed, the things that normally would give you joy and pleasure no longer do. If you feel that you no longer enjoy your hobby, sport, hanging out with your friends and family or have a decreased sex drive – and even try to avoid these situations as much as possible – it is very likely that you are depressed.
Changes in your appetite or weight:
Depression affects people in different ways when it comes to appetite and weight; some people comfort themselves with food and others can't even bear the thought of food. An important factor when it comes to linking weight changes and depression is whether or not the change has been intentional. If you did not intend to lose (or gain) weight, that is a strong sign that something is very wrong with your mind and body.
Feeling tired and experiences loss of energy:
When you are depressed it is very common that you constantly feel tired. It can even be described as walking around all day feeling like a zombie, your mind and body feeling physically drained. Being tired all the time of course hinders your daily activities and instead of doing your hobbies and sports you just want to curl up on your couch and pull your blanket over your head. Small day-to-day tasks like cooking food, getting dressed and getting out for a walk with the dog seem to require a lot of effort and you do anything to avoid these tasks.
Changes in your sleep pattern:
Depression almost always affects your sleep; either you sleep too little (insomnia in the worst cases) or too much (hypersomnia in the worst cases). You may find it impossible to sleep and/or wake up 2-3 hours before you need to get up. Your mind may spin with negative thoughts making it impossible for you to go to sleep/go back to sleep. When depressed - even if you do get your 7-9 hours sleep - it is also common to wake up extremely tired. It almost feels like you didn't sleep at all and you are just as tired as you were when you went to bed, even if you slept your hours needed.
Feeling more irritable than usual:
Your tolerance level is lower than usual and your temper is short, which makes you feel that everything and everyone is getting on your nerves. You might be able to keep up your facade at work but once home you snap at your family and friends, sometimes feeling guilty afterwards but sometimes feeling too numb to even care.
Feeling anxious and nervous:
When you are depressed, being anxious and nervous is also very normal. Anxiety produces several physical symptoms like headaches, pain in the jaw (due to clenching your jaws during the day), chest pain, stomach pain and indigestion. Just receiving an email or hearing the phone calling at work can evoke these physical symptoms.
Having unexplained physical problems:
Your increase in physical problems such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain can be painful signs of depression. The more physical symptoms you have, without any clear reasons, the more likely is it that you are suffering from depression.
Having uncontrollable mood swings:
Depression can have an uncontrollable effect on your mood. Your emotions are up and down like you have never experienced before; one minute you are angry and the next you are crying. You may be tearful much more easily, crying in situations where you normally would not do so.
This depression test is not to be seen as a final diagnosis. If you are uncertain about your result, we suggest that you get professional help as soon as possible.
If you are feeling suicidal
If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in immediate crisis, please contact your national emergency number or go to Befrienders Worldwide that offers crisis resources worldwide.