People come to me often because they feel anxious. What they don’t understand is that a lot of that anxiety is rooted in depression. How many of you feel anxious? Do you also feel like you may depressed? We tend, as a society, to speak about anxiety a lot and ignore depression. Ignoring depression is serious. I speak to my corporate groups often about the challenges associated with depression- more so, by not addressing it.
Do you know the warning signs when it comes to depression? Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Traditionally, the signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
And sometimes depression can be caused by the life changing events that can initially start off as leading to emotions like anxiety or sadness. The problem is, if these feelings go unaddressed, depression can turn into clinical major depression. The risk factors for this are loneliness, lack of social support, recent stressful life experiences, family history of depression, marital or relationship problems, financial strain, early childhood trauma or abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, unemployment or underemployment, and health problems or chronic pain.
As you just read, chronic pain can either be the cause of depression or a symptom! Depression is not anything to fool with. I speak with corporate and individual clients about this subject matter on a daily basis and I am willing and ready to help you or your group.