How to Know If You Are Depressed

It is important to remember that anyone can fall prey to the illness, not just the ones mentioned above. You might recognise a trigger for your symptoms in the categories above, but equally you might not fall into any of these groups, yet you are still experiencing what feels like depression.

With so many cases of depression unrecognised and there¬≠fore untreated, you may be one of those suffering depressive symptoms but still wondering what exactly is wrong with you. You may feel foolish bothering the doctor, worried they will think you are wasting their time and convinced all they will say is, ‘Pull yourself together.’ But not knowing what the matter is can be unnecessarily frightening, and obviously the sooner you know the reason for your symptoms, the sooner you can get treatment. Use the questions listed below as a quick guide to how you might be feeling if you are suffering a depressive episode:


  • Has your mood changed over the past few weeks from your normal, day-to-day pattern to become more pessimistic and dark? This does not mean just having a bad day, it means a more sustained lowering of mood. Some people are naturally quieter and more introverted than others, but it is the change you should be looking for. Are you feeling hopeless about life for no particular reason? Obviously if you have just suffered a personal tragedy, or even a less major emotional trauma, you will not be feeling full of the joys of spring, but this is a generalised despair about everything around you which is not justified by the actual circumstances in your life.
  • Are you exhausted? Again, this is not the normal tiredness you might feel after a busy day, or a period of high stress; this is a more fundamental tiredness, a deep bone-tiredness which seems to settle over your mind and body and make you feel incapable of even the smallest effort. Do you find nothing makes you smile any more? Not even the prospect of a holiday, a new dress, or seeing your favourite friend for a drink? Do you find yourself constantly making feeble excuses to get yourself out of work and social engagements?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping? Do you wake up horribly early in the morning and lie there feeling exhausted and miserable at the prospect of another day? Are you feeling ashamed of your low mood and think it is all your fault?
  • Have you experienced panic attacks or feelings of high anxiety about everyday situations you would normally find easy to deal with? For instance, going out, meeting friends, taking a meeting at work, going down a high escalator, driving. Are you finding it’s hard to concentrate, are you having difficulty getting through your daily tasks, is it impossible to make decisions?
  • Have some of your family or friends begun asking you what is the matter? Do you get angry and irritated when they do?
  • When people try and cheer you up, do their efforts fail to comfort you and seem utterly pointless?
  • Do you spend a lot of your day with negative, despairing thoughts churning about in your brain?
  • Have you started drinking or smoking an abnormal amount?
  • Do you just want to give up? Does everything seems too difficult and you simply haven’t the energy to cope any more?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these ques¬≠tions, you should go and see your doctor because you are showing the classic symptoms of depressive illness. Write a list of the symptoms you are experiencing before you go, so that you can give them a clear picture of your problem. It is easy to forget what you meant to say when GP consultations are so short, particularly as you are finding it difficult to think straight. If your doctor doesn’t listen or understand, make an appointment with a different doctor, and take a friend along to back you up. It’s important to get a diagnosis for your symptoms, and eliminate other medical conditions, so that you can begin treatment.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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