“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:1-2
It is sometimes hard to know if you are experiencing depression in your life. Depression is often discussed, specifically, the outcomes of untreated depression (like self-harm and suicidal tendencies). Still, the actual signs of depression are not often brought up in a productive or informative way to people struggling with their mental health.
So, as someone diagnosed with depression, I wanted to bring attention to some of the more unrealized traits and habits that could indicate depression.
These are all from my personal experience with the illness and observed behavior from people I know who are also professionally diagnosed with depression. I am not a psychiatrist or therapist, so take all of this with a grain of salt, pretty please!
If you are interested in this post, you might enjoy this other post I wrote about depression:
- You keep putting off simple tasks.
You have many things that you need to do or “check off” your to-do list, and these tasks are not particularly hard or confusing for you. You just… do not really feel like doing them. You tell yourself, “Oh, I do not have to do that today. There is not a deadline soon or anything, so I can just do it tomorrow when I actually feel like doing it”. However, when tomorrow comes, there has been no change in your attitude about completing the tasks.
They just seem painfully uninteresting and, honestly, like a hassle. You used to motivate yourself to get through your checklist, either by the satisfaction of completing something or the validation you get from your superiors, but that is not really working anymore. You even consider how dire the consequences will be if you just continue to put this task or series of tasks off indefinitely.
Sudden disinterest and lack of motivation are common signs of depression going unchecked in your life.
If you want to read more about this particular aspect of depression, check out this blog post:
- Your bad days are really bad.
Everyone has bad days. They scream, snap at someone, or have a good cry to get their emotions out of their systems. After that, they generally feel better and can get on with their day or sleep it off and wake up, ready to put the previous day in their rear-view.
This is often not the case for you. Your bad days usually last for weeks on end, with no reprieve. On your bad days, you just feel like all of your energy has been sucked out of you. Like someone sucker-punched you in the gut, or your limbs suddenly stopped functioning. You spend all day either curled up in your bed or on your furniture, trying to motivate yourself to do something, ANYTHING – but you still feel nothing but that dark cloud of despair and existentialism hovering above you constantly.
Slumps like this are common traits of untreated depression. Even treated and/or medicated people with depression experience times like this; they can sometimes be signs that you need to change your treatment method or ask to have your medication dosage increased or prescription changed.
- You have a hard time shaking things off.
You have a tough time saying, “Well, cannot change what happened,” or “I guess I learned something” whenever caught off guard by a situation. You spend a lot of time thinking about what happened, how you were not prepared for it, how people around you perceived your reaction to the situation and other aspects that would likely never cross the minds of people who do not have depression.
You criticize yourself endlessly, which makes you more discouraged and numb, which you will, in turn, blame yourself for, resulting in a continuing cycle of self-criticism and growing feelings of inadequacy. This is also a sign of depression, although being obsessive about how others perceive you could also be a sign of anxiety or other less known mental illnesses.
- You take rejection and negative feedback hard.
This one kind of goes with the one above but feels like it deserves its own section. Bad or “average” grades or getting critical feedback on a project that you spent a lot of time on – completely devastate you. Every piece of slightly “bad” feedback you get feels like a validation of what you have always known: you are a fraud and do not deserve what you have in life. You feel like you have finally been outed as the failure you are, and now you can finally give up.
Sometimes you are subconsciously looking for a reason to give up on something before you even have a chance to fail at it. This feels like a way to protect yourself from getting your hopes up about succeeding and having those hopes crushed by what you believe to be your inadequacies. This is a common coping mechanism that I have seen and experienced when going through a particularly rough patch with my depression.
So you might be thinking, what now?
Well, if you felt that you identified and connected with any of the points I have made in this post, reach out to your healthcare provider (family doctor, psychiatrist, etc.) and tell them how you feel. In addition, of course, I would recommend doing more research on what you are feeling and maybe talking to someone you know who has struggled with depression to get their perspective on if what you are feeling really is depression.
And remember: depression often looks different in different people, like any other mental illness. So while there are some similarities across the board, every person is unique, so the way their symptoms appear will be slightly unique as well, in my opinion.
I hope that this blog post was helpful for you, and feel free to check out any of my other posts about mental illnesses, health, and my walk with Christ.
Please like, comment, and subscribe if you connect with my post and would like to see more of my crazy, exciting journey through life with Christ and mental illnesses. Every interaction I receive here means a lot. Thank you, and God bless you.
Until next time!