How Depression May Change Your Life
When we’re trying to diagnose depression in ourselves or someone else, we often look at how we person feel. We feel sad, hopeless, exhausted, empty and so on. But sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint how we feel, and we’ll get more insight into our condition by looking at our actions.
Socializing and Pastimes (or lack thereof)
Television, reading, listening to music, or video gaming is your main activity when not at work or school. But reading anything more demanding than escapism is too difficult.
- You’ve become a complete hermit. At the end of the day, all you want to do is go home and sit on the couch or crawl into bed.
- You’re making excuses, both to friends and family and yourself, why you can’t get together.
- You’re too busy (but you’re really sitting on the couch or are curled up in bed).
- You’re too tired. Unless you work a physically demanding job, that shouldn’t be an ongoing excuse.
- You find it almost impossible to maintain a normal conversation without spacing out or feeling that you need to escape.
- Smiling is difficult. You almost wonder if you’ve had a stroke, since your facial muscles seem to be incapable of moving. Your laugh has entirely disappeared.
- You’ve completely lost interest in sex, and hugging or holding hands either makes you uncomfortable or leaves you cold.
- You’re avoiding people because they irritate the heck out of you.
Well-being - Yours and that of your home
- Your home is a mess. Dirty laundry and dishes are piled up, your unopened mail is in piles.
- You may be normally fastidious about bathing, but it doesn’t seem terribly important now, at least judging by how often you do it.
- You wear the same clothes over and over, since choosing what to wear is too much of an effort.
- You’re letting yourself go - not exercising, not eating right. You know you should, but you just don’t have the energy.
- You’re either not eating anything (food has no taste) or you’re eating too much, especially sweets and carbohydrates.
- You’ve been to the doctor more frequently for issues that can’t seem to be diagnosed, like fatigue, stomach pain or headaches.
- You’re sure that you have a life-threatening illness like AIDs or a tumor.
- Your sleep pattern has changed. Maybe too little - you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep or you can’t fall asleep. Or too much - you can barely get out of bed in the morning and can’t wait to get back in at night.
Getting Things Done
- You’re putting off normal, everyday things that need to be done: getting your car registered, mailing bills, taking a book back to the library, buying a birthday present for someone. It all just seems like too much of an effort.
- You’re having trouble doing your job, even though your responsibilities have not changed.
- You lose things, you lose track of things and can’t always remember what day it is. You have trouble concentrating on something as easy as watching tv.
If you see yourself in some or many of these examples, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible depression. Or if you are being treated for depression and you still are seeing these issues, then you need to tell your doctor that the treatment isn’t working.
Deborah Gray wrote about depression as a Patient Expert for HealthCentral. She lived with undiagnosed clinical depression, both major episodes and dysthymia, from childhood through young adulthood. She was finally diagnosed at age 27, and since that time, her depression has been successfully managed with medication and psychotherapy.