Ten Signs that it is Time to Get Help for Your Depression
When you suffer from symptoms of depression it is can be easy to dismiss what is happening as temporary or just a minor setback. Some people might be afraid to seek help due to anxiety in acknowledging that there may be a problem. Others may fear stigma of what their family or friends may think or even perceive depression as some sort of weakness. Still others may worry that they do not have the time or money to devote to therapy or they may be afraid that a doctor will push medications on them that they do not want. For whatever reason, some people who suffer from depression will not get help or treatment because they feel it is a risk to do so. But here’s the thing. In many circumstances it is more of a risk to not get help.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness month I am going to help you identify those factors which make it essential that you do not wait any longer to seek treatment for your depression.
It is time to get help for your depression when…
1. When you have been experiencing symptoms of depression that just won’t go away for two weeks or more. One of the DSM criteria for Major Depressive Disorder is that the duration is for two weeks or more, but many people wait to get help only after their symptoms go on for months. By then, depression symptoms are more entrenched and recovery takes that much longer.
2. When you have other people in your care. If you are taking care of children or an elderly or disabled parent, you need to take care of yourself especially if you have other people who depend upon you. Your mental health and well being greatly affects others. If you are a caretaker who suffers from depression please get help early on so that you can continue to give to those who need you the most.
3. When your depression is beginning to affect your work. If you are starting to miss days of work, calling in sick and arriving late due to your depression then it is time to think about getting some help. If you find yourself unable to perform the demands of your job because the symptoms of your depression make you unable, it is time to seek treatment. The last thing you want is to lose your job as this event will surely cause you to be even more depressed and less likely to get the treatment you need.
4. When your depression affects your physical health. Some of the symptoms of depression can include weight gain or loss and difficulties sleeping. Depression can also make you feel extremely weary and fatigued. These bodily symptoms combined with stress can lower your immune system to the point where you are getting ill much more frequently and subsequently increasing your feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Don’t let your body take the toll for your mood. Get some help for your depression so that you can feel mentally and physically well.
5. When you no longer enjoy things you used to enjoy. Maybe you are a person who loves movies, music, and dancing. But this past month or so, you have no interest in these activities and that you used to love. And even when you do engage in your favorite activities and hobbies, they don’t give you pleasure like they used to. This is a strong sign that your depression is robbing you of your zest for life. Don’t let depression do this to you. Get some help so that you can return to enjoying life again.
6. When you are using drugs and alcohol to self medicate. Many people who suffer from addictions also have an underlying mood disorder. When you are turning to drugs and/or alcohol when you are either anxious or depressed, this is a warning sign that you cannot ignore. It is time to seek treatment so that you do not develop an addiction problem in addition to your depression.
7. When you are feeling so angry that you fantasize about harming others. Underneath a lot of depression is rage. When this rage comes to the surface some people may begin to think of acting upon it. If you are beginning to have thoughts of harming others this is a red light emergency warning that you need to get some help right now. A skilled therapist can help you to work through these feelings of anger in a safe way.
8. When you no longer feel like you can get out of bed in the morning. One of the primary symptoms of depression is sleep disturbance. Some people will sleep too much and some will sleep too little. Some people will have difficulty getting to sleep and others may have trouble staying asleep. The effect of poor sleep can be feeling fatigued and agitated upon awakening. You may feel so awful that you don’t want to get out of bed. And for some people with depression this is exactly what does happen. Don’t let this particular symptom get out of hand as it has an enormous impact upon your mental well being. If you are not sleeping well get some help right away.
9. When other people are worried about you. You think you know yourself pretty well. But it turns out others around us are sometimes better equipped to observe changes in our personality and functioning that we fail to see for ourselves. Some people who are suffering from depression go into denial that there is a problem. But loved ones know. When loved ones and friends become vocal and tell you that your depression is noticeable and that it is causing them distress and worry, it is time to listen. Don’t be the person who refuses help until it destroys your relationships. Allow your friends and family to help get you the treatment you need in order to get better.
10. When you are having thoughts of harming yourself or are having thoughts of suicide. This is a warning sign you cannot ignore. If you are doing things like cutting or other self harm then it is time to seek immediate treatment. If you are having thoughts that you want to kill yourself because you can’t stand the pain any more then this is the time when you tell someone about these feelings. Don’t keep these thoughts a secret. Let someone know so that you can get the help you need.
Lastly I am going to give you the resources you need to get mental health services and treatment. If you are experiencing any of the warning signs listed above please do be proactive and get some help before things get worse. You are worth it!
• Crisis Hotlines: If you are feeling suicidal or just don’t know where to turn please call these 24 hour numbers.
National Suicide Hopeline Phone: 800.784.2433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Phone: 800.273.8255
Other Mental Health Resources:
• National Alliance on Mental Illness Phone: 800.950.NAMI (800.950.6264)
• Psychology Today Therapist Directory
• If you cannot afford therapy or mental health services I have written an article to help you. Please read my post, “How do I Get Mental Health Services with No Money and No Insurance” as well as all the reader comments.