You could know a lot about what depression looks like yet fail to recognize it in yourself. For one, depression can look quite different from person to person. Your symptoms can develop gradually and at different times, and some might not seem like depression. But the truth is, depression doesn’t always manifest as constant, immense sadness like we tend to think it does.
Some people overlook their depression when there is no clear explanation to explain their low mood. Others can miss it because there is a discernible reason, since we expect to feel depressed following particularly triggering life events. Still, even when all the signs are there, one of the biggest reasons we still fail to see depression is that we just don’t want to see ourselves that way.
If you can relate to any of the following five warning signs, you may be depressed and not know it yet.
Check your self-esteem
Everyone struggles with low self-esteem from time to time. Low self-esteem can be deeply rooted and make you more susceptible to depression. That said, it can be difficult to trace low self-esteem to depression, especially when a negative self-view is all you really know.
To check-in with your self-esteem levels, start being more mindful of how you talk to yourself. Do you find yourself frequently engaging in negative self-talk? Do you beat yourself up over past mistakes or always feel inadequate in a room with others?
Notice your outlook on life
How has your outlook been lately? Do you notice yourself having more negative responses to everyday situations? Depression can cause you to see the worst in people, including yourself. It will also contribute to negative thoughts and emotions, so notice if your positivity seems to have gone out the window.
Look out for physical symptoms
Most of us know more about the emotional side of depression, but what about the physical? Depression can contribute to various physical symptoms and even chronic pain. Experts think that people with depression experience physical pain differently from others because of how the related brain areas process information.
Are you experiencing any of the following?
- Headaches or migraines
- Muscle aches
- Joint, chest, or back pain
- Digestive issues
- Appetite or weight changes
- Fatigue or sleep problems
Note how well you focus
If you are struggling at work or in school, this is a possible warning sign for depression. It could be that you cannot concentrate or have lost interest, so you show up late or skip out. The issue could also be that you have less energy to complete assignments or perform as well as you once did.
Pay attention to your anxiety levels
We all experience stressors in life that can trigger anxiety. So when it comes to depression, the most important thing to pay attention to is how frequently and severely you experience anxiety. Ongoing anxiety could be a sign of depression, particularly if you cannot connect it to a specific event or life change.
It’s worth noting that anxiety and depression share similar symptoms, including trouble sleeping and focusing. If you are having trouble discerning between the two, reach out to your physician. The sooner you talk to someone about any of these signs, the sooner you can start feeling better.
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