[title subtitle="Wellness Wednesdays with Blare June"]Could it be Depression?[/title]
While it would be rather lovely to live a life of only sunshine and rainbows, the thought—albeit an optimistic and hopeful one—is not always a possibility. It is normal and healthy, in fact, to occasionally experience sadness. Think about it this way: how could you truly appreciate the good if you don’t have the bad to compare it with? How could you really celebrate triumph if you don’t experience hardship first?
That said, there are still times when your lows outweigh your highs—when there are more difficult days then there are easy ones. Prolonged “Down in the Dump” days can be both emotionally draining and harming.
Here are 5 signs to help you recognize when it might be time to seek professional help.
“I'm so darn tired.”
Doctors recommend an average of 6-8 hours of sleep because sleep helps human beings cope with every day stress. When overwhelmed or experiencing a shift in mood, sleep (or the lack of it) is usually the first clue that something is not right. If you start waking up a lot earlier than usual without the help of an alarm clock, seek help. Early morning wakening (EMW) is a symptom of depression that should not be ignored. Other obvious signs include difficulty falling asleep and trouble staying asleep.
“No, thank you. I'm not hungry.”
When feeling blue, people often forget to eat or lose their appetites. In order to stay healthy efficient human beings, it is vital to eat nourishing meals throughout the day. If you notice a change in your appetite or are experiencing a drastic and inexplicable weight loss, your mood may be impairing your hunger.
“Sorry, could you please repeat that?”
When depression sets in, regardless how hard you may try to fight it, it is often extra difficult to concentrate. Experiencing a change in drive and clarity at school or work or forgetting everyday conversations and events may be good reasons to seek professional help.
“Why don't I love the things I once enjoyed anymore?”
People experiencing clinal depressive episodes report an inability to derive pleasure from previously pleasurable activities. If playing tennis, hanging out with friends, or watching re-runs of your favorite show on Netflix is no longer your go-to Saturday morning activity, it is important to monitor this change seriously. Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure) is a symptom of depression and subsequent sign that professional help is needed.
“Maybe life just isn't worth it.”
While people don't openly talk about suicidal thoughts, they're more common than you think. Once depression sets in, passive thoughts like, "I wish I didn't wake up this morning," or active thoughts that include an intent and plan to die, may present itself for the first time and worsen with frequency. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is vital to seek help immediately. You can seek out your local emergency department, family physician, or help line for assistance. Remember, you are not alone!