Am I Experiencing Signs of Depression?

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Answered by: Emily, An Expert in the Depression: True Stories Category
There are many symptoms of depression, and to be honest, they vary person to person. I suffer from depression, and at first, I didn't recognize it for what it was because I didn't fit all the symptoms that I had heard about. When I first went through a period of depression, it wasn't what I had imagined. As a teenager, I was under the impression that depression was when you felt sad all the time; however, that is not the case. My symptoms of depression were sadness, self-loathing, a numbness/feeling of emptiness, loss of energy, loss of interest in activities I had once enjoyed, and a general feeling that something wasn't right with me.

Some of the most common signs of depression are a change in appetite, a change in sleep patterns, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, low energy, loss of interest in day-to-day life, self-loathing, anger and irritation, and withdrawing from those close to you. You may find yourself experiencing only a couple of these symptoms, or all of them; nonetheless, if you feel that something isn't right with your mental health, that you are in a "rut" — which is what I called it when I first experienced it - the most important thing for you to do is get help.

Now, this is definitely easier said than done, because while in a depressive state, I, and many others that I have spoken to, find themselves completely unmotivated to do anything. We are aware that something is wrong, but we lack the energy or sense of urgency to fix the problem. You might find yourself feeling tired all the time, sleeping more often, feeling bored even as you attempt activities that you once enjoyed, and start to hate certain things about yourself more than you did, or you might find yourself staying awake for days on end, barely eating, feeling frustrated and edgy, isolating yourself, and feeling helpless to change anything. Both states are fairly different, and yet they could both easily be signs of depression, and that is why it is so important to talk to someone, whether it be your parents, a friend, or your doctor. You may not recognize all of the symptoms you've been experiencing to be depression, but with the help of someone with an outside perspective, they could help you come to terms with it. Nonetheless, even if you talk to a friend and realize you are depressed, it is then essential to talk to your doctor about coping mechanisms and treatment options.

Depression is not just feeling a bit down for a day or two; it is a mental illness that can be triggered by a chemical imbalance in your brain (such as myself), traumatic experiences in your life, a mix of the two, or countless other scenarios. If you feel as though you are exhibiting any of the signs I mentioned about, it is important to find someone to confide in, because even though it feels as if you will never get out if it, you can and you will. Depression does not define you. It can be managed and lived with, and your life will still be pretty amazing. Sure, there will be some bad days, but bad days don't make a bad life. Take it from someone who is still figuring it out, just like you.

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