While everyone faces emotional highs and lows in life, depression is characterized by an enduring sense of sadness which inhabits the mind completely. Depressed individuals feel a sense of utter hopelessness and defeat as if life is completely meaningless. Such state of mind is different from ordinary unhappiness in that it prevents an individual from functioning rationally and routinely in daily life. Therefore, depression can be truly incapacitating, which makes it all the more advisable that professional assistance be sought at the earliest on the onslaught of depressive tendencies
Many depressed individuals direct their misery inwards, blaming their own selves for everything that does not meet their expectation. They become extremely self-critical and doubt their capability to achieve anything at all. Such self-loathing leads to dissatisfaction and frustration, often even guilt at underachievement or perceived uselessness. This self-loathing attitude, coupled with low self-esteem can produce dangerous thoughts such as suicide being an escape from one’s own worthlessness.
Depressed individuals find it very difficult to be suitably involved in routine activities at work, home or elsewhere. Weighed down by their sadness, they cannot bring themselves to concentrate and engage in any task. And when shying away from productive activity, they have all the more time to dwell upon their unhappiness – it is indeed a vicious circle. Many times, there is even a loss of libido and sexual activity stops being a priority.
In most instances, depressed individuals lose all their social bearings and are unable to act in a socially appropriate manner. They are irritable in their interaction with others – no matter who they may be; their family, friend or boss even. This short temperedness and general aversion to social interaction cause those depressed to isolate themselves from others. They prefer being alone for hours at length, conversing with others only when absolutely necessary.
This is a by-product of several other symptoms of depression. Low self-worth, coupled with the inability to do anything productive or even engage with others’ socially, leads suffering individuals to become more and more anxious. They worry about both their personal and professional future, feeling certain that they are likely to fail at both. However, with some people, who descend to complete hopelessness with a sense of intense despondency, such feelings of anxiety may be absent; they give up completely and are too melancholy to dwell upon the consequences of their choices.
Fatigue and lack of energy are typically witnessed in depressed individuals. Their sense of defeat is so severe that they do not feel capable of accomplishing even the smallest tasks. This is a highly problematic scenario for working professionals who often jeopardize their job by virtue of their lack of energy and responsiveness. Fatigue, when combined with poor concentration further hampers the quality of work done. Thus, depression can have very grave consequences vis-a-vis one’s professional life.
Depressed individuals usually suffer from disturbed sleep patterns as well. In some cases, they develop insomnia, which only adds to their fatigue, anxiety, irritability and low energy levels. More often however, those depressed tend to sleep excessively, remaining in bed for an unhealthy amount of time. Some complain that they are absolutely unable to leave their bed, feeling extremely lethargic and incapable of movement.
This is another typical symptom that is observed in majority of those depressed. Change in appetite, both complete lack of hunger and excessive binge eating, are very common. The corresponding changes in body weight either lead to significant weight loss or massive weight gain. Though the same bodily changes may occur in a person who is merely in low spirits but not depressed, depression causes more severe changes wherein a minimum of 5% body weight alteration takes place in just a week.
This is perhaps a most telling and dangerous symptom of depression. People with this mood disorder spend a great amount of time thinking about self-harm. They are plagued by morbid thoughts and often research extensively on ways and means to induce death. It is all the more alarming that coupled with their reckless impulsivity; these suicidal tendencies are at high risk of being realized. Therefore, it is highly recommended that a person’s unusual fascination with the idea of death, not be taken lightly, especially if other signs of depression are also observed alongside. Professional help must be sought immediately to prevent any untoward, life-threatening activity.