You may have a strong inclination that you have signs of depression but you are feeling so lost about how to make it better. You know you don’t want to feel irritable and unmotivated in your day to day life. Living a life of blah is starting to get to you. You know you want to feel motivated, connected and confident. In fact you strongly want this. There is just a path from A to Z that is feeling foggy (maybe a strong understatement).
Unfortunately when you live your life feeling stuck, unsure, and unmotivated this leads to miss out on the precious moments of life. All the moments that you truly know inside your gut are important to you. Maybe it’s those moments with your kids. You see them smile but it feels painful to join them. Or maybe it’s getting yourself involved in a good conversation. You remember when you had stronger opinions about things. That you were actually vocal about those things.
You remember a time when you were closer to the people around you. When you felt the enjoyment of spending time with your family and friends. These days you are feeling sad more often than not and struggle to get that smile lasting on your face. You see how this depression impacts all parts of your life and you want more than ever to feel good again.
What are signs of depression? Does it look something like this for you?
It’s Monday morning and your alarm clock goes off. You snooze. And snooze again. And then a 3rd time. You tell yourself you don’t want to get out of bed. Your body feels like pins and needles. You struggle to get out of bed and motivated enough to get your day going. All those bully thoughts start to enter. “There is no point” and “it’s not like this day is going to be any good.”
You finally get up and look at yourself in the mirror. You hardly recognize yourself anymore. Again you get flooded with thoughts that just pull you down. All you want to do is fall back in your bed and cover yourself with the blanket. Hiding from it all. You have a whole list of things that you should be doing today. Whole bunch of work. Things around the house to do. Maybe your kids need you.
Your partner comes in and you notice that he gets discouraged seeing that dreaded face of yours again. You force yourself to get a smile going. But you can’t believe it even for a second.
The truth is that many people experience this type of depression. You are not alone. There are so many responsibilities and “the shoulds” that we face in the world. The way “we should be” or “who we think we need to be.” The level of self-judgment and criticism that can creep up on a regular is undeniable. And this self-pressure can hit really strong and lead to a numb feeling for so many.
You are wanting to truly understand the signs of depression and have things get better. But you feel like you are stuck in a hole that is so deep now.
10 Signs of Depression and 10 Tips
Depression sign ONE: You are feeling helpless and hopeless. There is a strong feeling that nothing will get better and nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Tip ONE: List all the things you DO have control over. We often feel that nothing can get better when we don’t have control. However identifying and communicating to ourselves all the things we have control over can go a long way. For example, do you have control over going for a walk? Do you have control over deciding to take a bath? What CAN you do.
Depression sign TWO: You’ve lost interest in daily activities. You just don’t care anymore about the things you once cared about. Maybe you lost interest in previous hobbies, social activities or sex. You no longer feel like you have the ability to feel as much joy in pleasure in life.
Tip TWO: Try to do one thing a day that you used to enjoy. Your mind will fool you into thinking and truly believing that you don’t enjoy it. That it won’t give you fulfillment. We need to retrain our minds to find pleasure. This often just starts with doing the thing that we once enjoyed anyways. At first you will likely not feel that enjoyment. Ultimately however if you are consistent you will begin to reprogram yourself to enjoy. Just by doing. In depression therapy in Simi Valley, Ca or Online Therapy in Los Angeles we work with our clients on working towards enjoyable things in their life.
Depression sign THREE: There has been a big weight change. Either you lost significant weight or gained weight. Many people use unhealthy coping mechanisms during depression. This can look like emotional eating. Others have no appetite and in a state of numbness don’t eat. Or forget to eat.
Tip THREE: Set up a specific activity around eating mindfully. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day. Eat something and ask yourself what it tastes like. Try to get specific. What is the texture? Soft? Hard to chew? Creamy? In general, activities around mindfulness are really helpful to combat depression. Guided meditation and yoga are examples of mindfulness approaches that can help you stay present in the moment. It’s through learning how to live present that you can truly combat depression.
At Simi Psychological in depression therapy we help you develop more present oriented practices in your daily life. We help you identify the obstacles in living present and work on addressing them.
Depression sign FOUR: You’ve had significant changes in your sleep. Maybe you have trouble sleeping at night and struggling with insomnia. Or you just can’t wake up in the morning and are sleeping in way too much. Or worse yet you stay in bed throughout your day. Sleep has become a bigger coping strategy for you than you’d like.
Tip FOUR: Adjust your nightly routine. Reduce down television use. Start winding down with a bath, walk, and journaling. Write in your journal at night. Get out all that is on your mind. There is something about the process of writing that truly helps ease the overload of thoughts that happen at night. Take a look at our blog on how to sleep at night with anxiety. We know how interconnected depression and anxiety are. Set yourself up for success with challenging anxiety at night!
Depression sign FIVE: You are feeling much more agitated, restless or even violent. Your temper escalates much quicker and you snap more easily. You know that your tolerance for the small things is low. Everyone and everything just gets on your nerves and frustrates you.
Tip FIVE: Slow down in the moment by counting to 3 before responding to anything. Remind yourself to COUNT. Take your deep breath in and out three times. Remind yourself that you don’t like the you that gets reactive. Take a break and leave the physical space you are in to cool off.
Depression sign SIX: You’ve lost energy. Feeling more sluggish, drained and fatigued. Your body is feeling like pins and needles. More heavy and small tasks feel overwhelming and exhausting. They take you much longer to get done.
Tip SIX: Motion creates emotion. You lost energy. The difficulty is that the best way to regain energy is to move. It’s going to feel like you are forcing yourself to go on that walk. FORCE YOURSELF THEN! I know this may sound easier said than done. I get it. But we need to force ourselves to do the things when our mind plays games with us.
Depression sign SEVEN: You have a strong feeling of guilt. You are super hard on yourself and criticize yourself for perceived mistakes or faults. Maybe you are feeling worthless.
Tip SEVEN: What are 5 self kind things you can say to yourself each morning? What can go on auto repeat to yourself so that some self kindness enters to offset some of that bully voice? One thing’s for sure. The critical voice is keeping you stuck. This has become your new comfort zone. We need to challenge that comfort zone by going against it and doing things differently.
In depression therapy near Thousand Oaks, Ca we work with you on going outside that comfort zone. We help you challenge your negative self talk so that you have more control over your life. So that depression doesn’t control you.
Depression sign EIGHT: Reckless behavior such as substance abuse, reckless driving, dangerous sports, or gambling. You are looking for quick fixes.
Tip EIGHT: When you get to a point that you are engaging in a lot of reckless behavior please consider getting some help. This is a big sign that it is time to reach out and have someone help you in this journey. Many times reckless behavior comes with consequences that are irreversible. Don’t allow this. Reach out and get help.
Depression sign NINE: You have a hard time concentrating, focusing, and making decisions. Your memory is failing you more often than before.
Tip NINE: Practice doing some activities that increase your focus. Get out an adult coloring book. This is a helpful strategy for many. Write things down. Don’t let too much swim in your head. Writing things down will help you feel that you have control and that things are more approachable.
Depression sign TEN: You have unexplained pains and aches. Physical complaints are common during depression. These include headaches, back pain, stomach pain and aching muscles.
Tip TEN: We know the strong connection between physical pain and depression. Movement tends to help physical pain. We teach our minds that we aren’t surrendering to the pain. Make sure to see a medical doctor to decipher whether there are any other medical reasons for your pain.
Understanding the signs of depression is important in identifying what is happening. Although you likely know there is depression, understanding the extent of these signs can help keep you aware of where things are headed. Recognize that there are ways to make it better. You have the ability to make a change. IT will be hard at first.
What is going to be your next step to reducing depression? What are you willing to start today?
About the author,
I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more