Health And Wellness

5 Red Flags You Need To Do Something About Your Depression ASAP

Photo: Ben Blennerhassett, micheile-henderson | Unsplash
depressed woman in a dark room, disassociating

When depression takes over your life, how do you know it's time to seek help for your mental health before things get worse? Are you asking, "Am I depressed?" all the time? Do you feel sad, not yourself, and aren't enjoying life? Your friends are telling you it will stop and to snap out of it. But, you wonder if you can get past the sadness. And when the signs of depression seem to get worse, you wonder if it’s time to ask for help. When I was struggling with undiagnosed depression, there were indicators it was time to get help. I didn’t see the signs then, but some indicators are easy to spot if you look closely.

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Here are 5 red flags you need to do something about your depression ASAP:

1. You can't get off the couch or bed.

If you are feeling depressed all the time and find it difficult to rouse yourself, then it might be time to get help. How much time do you spend on the couch or in bed? You aren't necessarily tired, but getting up is too daunting to face. Perhaps you stay horizontal all day, watching Netflix and feeling like a loser. This habit is a significant indicator of depression.

People who have been diagnosed with severe depression talk about the lengths they go to stay out of bed. They strip the sheets, take the mattress off of the box spring, lean it against the wall, and lock the bedroom door. Whatever it takes to keep them out of bed and wallowing in depression. If you find yourself horizontal more often than not, it’s time to get help!

Photo: Viktor Gladkov via Shutterstock

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2. You no longer like the things you once loved.

Have you lost interest in doing the things you have always loved? Does the idea of going to school, seeing friends, or going out to dinner seem like too much to bear? People who are depressed isolate themselves. The energy it takes to get out of bed and interact with others is overwhelming. So, they don't.

Ironically, going out and doing the things you love is a great way to alleviate depression temporarily. Unfortunately, the treatment can often seem too daunting to undertake, so people who are depressed just stay home. If you find yourself isolating and dreading doing the things to make you happy, it might be time to get help.

3. You have overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and dread.

Do you spend much of your time ruminating on negative thoughts about how horrible your life is? What a loser you are, and how no one will ever love you? Are you 100 percent confident this will never change? Does going for a run, talking to your mother, or spending time with your partner seem impossible because you feel so worthless?

People who are depressed believe all of those negative thoughts that run through their heads. Unfortunately, they also falsely believe it will always be this way! What many depressed people don’t realize is when you are depressed, the future can only seem hopeless. Why? Because when one’s mind is in such a dark place, it’s impossible to believe the future will be any different than it is now.

The good news is when the depression is addressed, the feeling of hopelessness can disappear completely! So, if you are feeling depressed all the time and filled with hopelessness and dread, get some help!

   

   

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4. You're impatient with those you love.

Do you find yourself losing your patience with those you love? Do you scream at your kids if their homework doesn't get done? Do you sneer at your husband if he asks you what is wrong? Can you not talk to your mom anymore because her questioning is too much?

Impatience with those you love is a significant indicator of depression. The sense of hopelessness our condition will never change and we are worthless makes it intolerable for us to interact with others, particularly those who love us and want the best for us. Ironically, love is exactly what we need most in our lives when we suffer from depression. Pushing love away can make your depression worse. So, reach out to your doctor if your impatience and irritability are getting the best of you and affecting your life!

   

   

5. Your sleep habits or appetite have changed.

Has your appetite changed recently? Do you indulge more than usual in Ben and Jerry’s and Oreos? Or do you find you have no taste for food at all? Have you lost weight and found yourself listless because you aren't eating? Do you find you can’t sleep at all, nights are long and filled with thoughts of hopelessness and dread? Or do you find yourself sleeping too much? Is the only relief you get from your depression through sleep?

Changes in eating and sleeping patterns can indicate depression. When depression goes untreated, we often self-medicate with food, often to one extreme or another, which is not healthy and can make the depression worse. Of course, eating and sleeping well is a vital part of dealing with depression. Failing to do so only makes the feelings of hopelessness and despair worse.

If you are feeling depressed all the time, then it’s time to get treated — whether it's therapy, medication, or a bit of both. Untreated depression only gets worse. Unfortunately, we hate to admit to being depressed because our loved ones and society, as a whole, tend to stigmatize those who are dealing with depression.

So, ask yourself if you have any of the symptoms above. Are you listless and full of hopelessness? Is the joy in your life gone? Are you impatient and irritable, and have your sleep patterns changed? If any of these are true, seek professional help. Call your primary care provider and tell them exactly how you've been feeling. Treating depression is possible.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.