9 signs of depression
Updated: Jun 21
Due to the stigma and or lack of understanding associated with many mental health conditions, people are sometimes accused of faking or making up their depression.
"Betty isn't depressed. She's just trying to get attention." "Depression is a figment of your imagination." Sound familiar? Chances are, you've heard someone say something similar at one point in time.
Regardless of how many symptoms of depression a person has, social bias still sometimes tends to lurk when it comes to illnesses and conditions that are not always easily spotted by the untrained eye. It doesn't matter how many licensed professionals have told a person they meet criteria for depression, or how many treatments for depression a person has undergone, biases sometimes still prevail in places like the media, some religious groups and even in some family cultures.
Negative biases towards mental illness can be detrimental to a depressed person. Chalking up a person's depressive symptoms to attention-seeking behaviors can make the depressed person feel unworthy, invalidated, and isolated.
It's also a primary contributing factor as to why 1/3 of persons with depression and other mental health conditions forgo treatment in the United States.
Be aware that the vast majority of people with depression symptoms are not "making them up" for attention or any other reason for that matter. All people with depression diagnoses deserve as much understanding and help as necessary to feel better. Period. No exceptions.
Curious about what depressive symptoms actually look and sound like? Wondering if you or someone you know might be struggling with a depressive disorder? Here are nine common signs of depression:
You feel down all the time. You have a sense of hopelessness or constant pessimism.
Restlessness or irritability. Everything sets you off.
You don't find pleasure in activities. You no longer want to participate in hobbies that you once enjoyed.
You have a change in eating habits. Either overeating or lack of appetite - not otherwise attributed to an eating disorder.
You have a change in sleeping habits. Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much.
You feel tired all the time or have little energy.
You have difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
Suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, or have thoughts that you would be better off dead.
You feel bad about yourself or have a lot of guilt.
If any of the symptoms named above are causing you distress, schedule an appointment with your doctor or with a licensed mental health care provider in your area. Help is available for depression. Don't give up until you find the help you need.
If you're lucky enough not to struggle with depressive symptoms, I challenge you to refrain from judging those who are struggling. Let's help make the world a better place by practicing empathy and compassion. Together we can help put the outdated myths and old wives' tales about depression to rest.
Misti Luke is a licensed therapist in beautiful Broken Bow Oklahoma, where she maintains a small private counseling practice. Misti provides in-office and online treatment (Oklahoma residents only) for depressive symptoms on a case by case basis. For correspondence, firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The content contained in this blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or behavioral health treatment, nor should it be used to diagnose yourself or anyone else. Correspondence with the author of this article does not constitute a professional, therapeutic relationship. If you are in emotional distress or are unable to keep yourself safe, dial 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.