Hello again! Welcome to the second installment on depression and anxiety. During this post I will talk about signs and symptoms, and what they can mean if you’re experiencing them. I’ll also be mentioning a couple of sites that I have found to be quite useful before, so I hope that they help you. Shall we get on with it?
Now let me just remind you that I have studied Psychology, so I do know something of the physiological changes people go through when they’re experiencing depression. I still have textbooks all around me with sections, paragraphs, even whole chapters dedicated to mood disorders – the over-arching title that depression falls under. I currently have a giant book in front of me which is called the DSM-IV, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition). Needless to say, this manual is complex and difficult to read at the best of times, and indicates that there are many different types of depression – from Major Depressive Disorder, all the way to something called Dysthymic Disorder, which I won’t get into now. What I wanted to do with this blog post was make things simpler, not more difficult. So let’s use a more user-friendly source.
You may have heard of an organisation known as beyondblue – or you may not have. Either way, beyondblue is an amazing organisation that offers support for people with depression and related mood disorders. From their ‘About Us’ link – “We aim to build a society that understands and responds to the personal and social impact of depression, works actively to prevent it, and improves the quality of life for everyone affected.” A very noble aim.
I strongly recommend checking them out if you or someone you know seems to be experiencing the symptoms/signs that I will list soon. In fact, if you go to their website (www.beyondblue.org.au) and click on the ‘Symptom Checklists’ tab, under the depression checklists you’ll find a range of lists that will help you ascertain whether you or someone you know is experiencing depression. They also have checklists for anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and postnatal depression.
The following list of symptoms is taken from a different, but still incredibly useful, website known as SANE (www.sane.org). Please also check them out sometime. The symptoms include: feeling worthless or guilty; feeling sad or near-tears all the time; sleeping problems; loss of interest, pleasure and motivation to do things you normally enjoy; feeling anxious a lot; changes in appetite or weight; lack of sexual interest; physical aches and pains; and experiencing problems concentrating or thinking. In more serious situations, the individual may also experience a desire to hurt themselves, or even to kill themselves.
These symptoms usually have to last about two weeks with little change for someone to be diagnosed as having depression. However, if you or someone you know is experiencing a desire to cause personal harm, I do recommend getting help – check out the finding help section here on TINO.. While thinking about these things can sometimes be quite normal, acting upon these thoughts is much more serious. And having thoughts of hurting yourself frequently can be quite alarming for an individual, or for those around them.
Listing the symptoms makes depression seem quite small and improbable. However, for some, it can feel like a never-ending nothingness, mixed in with feeling so much emotional pain that it becomes nearly impossible to deal with. If you feel that you or someone you know fits in with these symptoms, I do urge you to at least do some more of your own research to figure out what to do next. Organisations like beyondblue and SANE will help you there, too – what is great that when you search around right here at www.tuneinnotout.com you will find information, videos and podcasts from these services plus many others brought together into the one space for you – so have a browse.
Next time I’ll be talking about getting diagnosed, and who you can talk to and reach out to. This can be the scariest part of getting help – that first attempt at reaching out. Showing scars, physical or metaphorical, can feel like an insurmountable task. And yet, there is so much help out there. You just need to know where to look.
Once more, thank you for reading. Hope everyone’s week is going well.
Check out the rest of this blog series…
Also check the related topics:Depression