Are You Depressed Without Knowing It?

You tell yourself you are just tired or forgetful but maybe you should be seeking help. Many of us do not understand what depression can look like.

Statistically, between 8% and 12% of us will experience a period of depression before the year is out, but many will never be diagnosed. Despite increased awareness of mental health issues, people can live with a range of symptoms without ever realising they are depressed.

Many of us don’t understand what depression looks like. People do not always understand you can still function and have depression, people think if you have depression you are going to quit your job, and so on, but many continue to work and continue to function, but to a different degree. You don’t have to be suicidal to be depressed.

Although no two cases are the same, there are a number of factors to look out for.

Low Mood
This is the most obvious sign of depression. Often people with depression have a feeling of low self-esteem and unworthiness. A person who is depressed and doesn’t know it, may become more critical and judgemental about themselves – they might self-blame. And you can become much more irritable with other people.

The low mood can be worse in the morning. It’s called diurnal variation, which is a way of saying you feel much sadder in the morning than you do in the afternoon.

Lack Of Interest and Enjoyment
Anhedonia is another very common symptom of depression. In this state, you no longer get pleasure from things you once enjoyed, and struggle to make any kind of effort. Anhedonia translates best as Loss Of Interest. It is feeling listless, feeling totally flat, as if the world is colourless. This can extend to relationships, with the result that people with depression often become isolated. People who are depressed tend to find a sanctuary, they don’t want to be around people, don’t go out much, they spend more time at home.

Loss Of Appetite
People with depression may overeat, indulging in comfort eating, but more often they lose their appetite. They simply lose the will to eat.

Insomnia And Fatigue
Many people with depression report disturbances in their sleep patterns. Some find themselves sleeping too much due to constant fatigue, but wakefulness is more common. It can be difficult to go to sleep, but typically with more severe depression, it’s about early waking – people wake up around 4 pm and can’t go back to sleep.

Aches and Pains
Depression can increase your susceptibility to pain. This may present as unexplained aches and pains that don’t go away, even with treatment.

Pain is almost an entirely psychological phenomenon. What is happening in your life will impact on pain. An example is soldiers in war getting a finger shot off and being carried of the field in a state of euphoria, laughing, Most of us, if our finger is shot off, we wouldn’t be laughing. pain is made worse or better depending on your psychological state.

Poor Memory
When you are depressed, your memory becomes “over-general” and you will find it hard to recall details.

Imagine you lose your job and become severely depressed and then somebody says to you “you need to get another job.” if you are not depressed, you think “I should get my CV in order, I should register with a couple of agencies, I should ask around my contacts and see if there’s anything going” – your memory is giving you highly specific things to do.

If you are depressed, you are thinking “I have to get a job… Ummm…” You can’t think beyond the general. That impairs problem-solving.

When you are depressed you’re likely to have what psychologists call “an elevated evidence requirement”. In other words, you want to be more certain before making decisions – and struggle to trust your gut feelings.

Using your gut feeling is something reserved for a particular type of decision – those that are important to us. For example, you meet the man of your dreams and he asks you to marry him. You have to consider many different factors but the top level of decision-making is the gut feeling. So if you are depressed, very important decisions, in particular, will be very hard to make.

In addition, if you’re depressed you may simply be less motivated. You know everything ends in failure, so there’s no point.

If you recognise symptoms in yourself or someone you know, it is important to seek help from your Psychologist or Counsellor. Laurian Ward is qualified to assist you in recognizing if you have depression or any form of mental state.