Depression comes when we’ve not felt ourselves for around six weeks, or up to a lot longer.
Look at the big picture here if you tend to have ups and downs. If you have two or three weeks of feeling low each month, and it’s been going on for half the year, then you are really looking at a six-month period. It’s time to reach out for help.
[Know you are depressed, but scared to go to a therapist’s office? Why not try Skype therapyfrom the comfort of your own home?].
2. How interested are you in your hobbies and activities?
Depression, on the other hand, can descend like a blinding fog. There were many things going on, and then suddenly we were just ‘in it’. We feel helpless against depression because we can rarely pinpoint the exact cause. So we don’t know where to start making changes (and depression robs us of the motivation to even try).
Are you sleeping so heavily you can’t get up when the alarm clock goes, and are suddenly prone to sleeping away your weekends? Or, are you sleeping in fits and starts, having bad dreams, waking up tired? Or unable to fall asleep at all? Depression tends to cause sleep problems.
Anxiety also affects sleep. Either you can’t sleep at all as your mind is racing, or you wake up several times with night anxiety, which feels like a half-asleep panic attack in the dark.
If this is you, seek help immediately – try a free help line, or, if you really are about to carry through, call emergency services.
10. Who are you thinking about?
Are you thinking about what your boss thinks of you, and your colleagues, and your family? Wondering how they will react to what you do next? Anxiety, always looking outward, has a hold on you.
Do you think about yourself mostly, about all the things you do wrong, and the terrible things that you experienced? If you are thinking about others, is it about how you let them down, and how they can’t understand you? This could be depression talking, an inward-looking condition.
11. How’s your focus?
When you try to work, does your mind feel foggy, blank, far away? Is it hard to get simple tasks done, partly as you can’t focus, partly as you can’t find the desire to be bothered to focus? Sounds like depression.
Do you feel inclined to share the way you are feeling and thinking with friends and loved ones? Even find yourself over-explaining it?Anxiety can make us babble. And we are more likely to share it, as we live in a society where anxiety and stress are fairly acceptable.
Depression can have to opposite effect. It goes back to the fact that depression is driven by shame. And when we have shame, our instinct is to hide.
Even if we do gather our courage and share how bad we are feeling with a loved one, shame can cause us to be on the lookout for the tiniest glimmer of rejection. No matter how hard the other person tries, if we are depressed, we are likely to feel misunderstood.