Because depression affects thoughts and sensations so strongly, it can be difficult to pinpoint these thoughts and feelings to depression. Sometimes, people with depression are genuinely surprised when they are finally diagnosed, even though they may have shown all of the classic signs for years. But there are ways to tell that you may have depression.
Look at Your Close Relations
If your siblings or parents have been diagnosed with depression, then you are far more likely to get depression than someone without any family history of depression. But the world depression was not used years ago. It was often called “melancholia”. Also, in many families, any talk of mental illness was quickly quashed. But if you have had a relative like an aunt or an uncle commit suicide, chances are they had depression, even if they were not diagnosed.
Aches and Pains
People with depression expereince painful physical symptoms. Usually, you will feel tired all of the time. Many people with depression also have digestion problems – either constipation or diarrhea. Some people have insatiable appetites while others will not have any sort of appetite; for days at a time. Some people can’t get enough sleep while some will be insomniacs.
You may also suffer from body aches and experience chronic pain. There is a fun word doctors use called comorbidity. This means that a patient has two or more problems that seem to affect each other. For example, people with migraines or epilepsy often have depression. This is thought to have something to do with serotonin levels in the brain. But still, pain and depression go hand and glove.
What’s The Point?
Often when in the grips of depression, it will feel as if nothing you do is any use, so why bother? Things, activities and people that you were intensely interested in now are deadly dull. You will look back over your life and seem to remember only the bad times and will forget that any good times happened.
You begin to think of yourself as the victim of an elaborate practical joke – whether it’s bad genetics, bad parents, bad health or a bad job, everything in your life will seem to be conspiring against you. Even when you talk about your problems with others and they offer suggestions, you are quick to point out how the suggestions will not work.
Thoughts of Suicide
This is a HUGE red flag that you have depression. Suicidal thoughts don’t even need to start out with trying to figure out how to die. They often start out with “Wouldn’t the world be a better place I wasn’t around?”
This is the time where there is no doubt that you need to contact a doctor or someone to get help. These feelings can go away. You are not doomed to suffer from them all of your life, but you have to ask for help first.
“The Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness.” Bodie Morey & Kim T.
Muesser, Ph.D. New Harbinger Publications; 2007.
National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Depression Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis.” http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Depression/Depression_Symptoms,_Causes_and_Diagnosis.htm
Author suffers from endogenous recurring depression.