This weeks blog post is a little different to what I usually post about but It's something that does or will effect a lot of us at some point or another.
I have had some struggles with anxiety and depression myself but I was still surprised to read that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
For me personally It took multiple people in my life to eventually sit me down and tell me they thought I maybe depressed and needed to get some help. It wasn't something I was able to accept at first because I truly did not think I had the "typical" signs of depression.
At the time I believed depression was where you couldn't stop crying or had self harm/suicidal thoughts. What I didn't realise is that depression can take on many different forms that look or feel very different for everyone.
Had I known this back then It probably wouldn't of taken me over 2 years to get help.
So I wanted to do this blog post so that we can all recognise some of the many signs of depression especially those that are lesser known so that it may help to better understand and help a loved one that might be suffering in silence or reach out for help for ourselves if we need it.
I also want to point out that we can all have bad days or bad weeks but if these symptoms continue for more than a few weeks it can be an indicator of depression.
(I want to clarify this list is not a way to diagnose depression but it can be an indicator that someone may need to reach out for help. It also does not contain all the signs of depression)
I am not a professional nor do I have any expertise in this field other than my own personal experience and limited research I have done on the topic.
Depression can suck the enjoyment out of the things you have always loved and enjoyed. You may feel like withdrawing from hobbies or going out with friends etc.
This was a big one for me. Not only did I not want to do the things I loved or even go and spend time with my friends and family. I didn't even want to go out in public, i.e. to the shops etc. I just wanted to withdraw from everything. I would sometimes make up excuses in my own head to justify to myself why I wasn't going or why I didn't want to leave the house.
According to Healthline Depression often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue which can be among the most debilitating syptoms of depression. This could lead to excessive sleeping but depression is also linked with Insomnia one might lead to the other and they often make each other worse. The lack of quality, restful sleep can also lead to anxiety.
This was also another big one for me. I would sleep very little at night because my mind would become active, far more active than it was during the day but in the day all I would really want to do, although I couldn't, was curl up and go to sleep.
Sometimes as with myself you can have a general feeling of emptiness or numbness, depression can cause high levels of emotions but it can also cause a complete lack of them.
The only way I can think to describe how this felt for me personally is if you have ever been so upset by something that you have cried and cried and cried for maybe 10-30 minutes and when you stop crying you're left not wanting to cry anymore and no longer in that desperately upset state and instead you are left just feeling empty and numb. That feeling for me was very often if not constant.
Depression can manifest as sadness, frustration and anger and you swing through these emotions at a moments notice even if nothing really happened to prompt the outburst.
This is another one that effected me without me even noticing.
Depression can feel like your usually brightly coloured mind has had the lights dimmed down because that's how you're walking around most off the time you might not notice that you have been physically sitting in a room with no lights on. You simply do not notice or care because your mind is used to that darkness.
This can swing both ways with depression, some people may over-eat and have a significant increase in appetite and others may lose their appetite.
Depression can cause aches and pains especially headaches, muscle cramps and digestive problems. It can also cause existing medical problems like chronic pain to intensify.
Difficulty concentrating or making decisions can also be a sign of depression.
These are just some of the symptoms of depression. The ones I haven't spoken about at are the ones we all usually think of when we think of depression, i.e. self harm, suicidal thoughts or attempts etc. and the only reason I haven't spoken about them is because for me, I was very much in denial about having depression because I didn't feel either of those and I naively believed they were the symbol of depression.
I think this is a common reason a lot of people don't recognise they or a loved one is suffering with depression.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post if these symptoms continue for longer than a few days or a few weeks this can be an indicator of depression but I also want to point out that I myself had felt this way for a few years and it had become my "normal" this meant that It was more difficult for me to acknowledge that I wasn't myself because essentially I hadn't been myself for so long, I had started to forget what "Myself" felt like.
If you are experiencing or are effected by anything you have read in this blog post then I urge you to reach out to someone, anyone, a friend, a family member, but also to a professional that can help. You can get help and you can feel better.
Here are some resources that may be of help:
Your local GP: Your local general practitioner will be able to discuss how you are feeling and get you the right help for you.
Sane Online Forum: http://www.sane.org.uk/home
Counselling & CBT through the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/
Better Help: Better Help Link
Much Love Beautifuls