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Struggling With Depression

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

Living with a mental health difficulty impacts so many areas of our lives. It can hamper our relationships with our nearest and dearest, limit our ability to work at our best and can rob us of our enjoyment and of the things that are important to us.

When it comes to depression, according to the World Health Organisation, 264 million people live with the mood disorder worldwide and it is the leading cause of disability.

Here, we share 10 common signs and symptoms of depression.

Before we begin though, it’s worth remembering that many of the symptoms described below are also a normal part of being human and living day-to-day. However, if you are struggling, reach out to your life/health coach for support, a therapist or a mental health agency for support rather than trying to self-diagnose.

Low mood lasting weeks and months

It’s normal to go through spells of low mood throughout our day to day life. After all, life is challenging. However, when the low mood doesn’t shift after a period of time and when it’s particularly intense over weeks and months, we can really begin to feel we’re stuck in a deep pit that feels as though it gets harder and harder to get out of.

Feeling anxious or worried

Again, feeling anxious or worried is our mind's normal response when we face difficult circumstances. But when we’re depressed, the content of these worries and anxieties can be particularly painful. We contemplate more about our life, beat ourselves up for not being able to ‘get on with it’ or become preoccupied with what others may think of us if only they knew how we are thinking/feeling.

No motivation or interest

As we begin to feel consumed by our difficult feelings and thoughts, we often struggle to find the motivation to do anything. Often, the things that we neglect and move further and further away from are the things that are important to us. We maybe begin to exercise less, read less, speak to friends less or draw less. It’s a crippling irony that the things that give us the most joy and meaning in life tend to be the first things that we stop doing when we’re struggling.

Feeling numb and 'unreal'

And as our feelings (or lack of) begin to really take hold, we can be left feeling utterly numb. We struggle to be able to identify any sort of range in emotions, even negative emotions, which remind us of who we are and what we care about. Instead, it can sometimes feel like we’re walking around in a daze. Like a dark and heavy fog has settled within us and life doesn’t feel ‘real’.

Disturbed sleeping

Sleep can become a real difficulty when we’re experiencing depression. Our minds may be whirling whilst lying awake at night, worrying about all our concerns and anxieties. Or our routine has been so disrupted that we’re no longer able to stick to a sleep routine, grabbing hours of broken sleep during the day. Experiences of sleepless nights may lead us to negatively associate our beds and sleep with having to be alone with our difficult thoughts and feelings. Sadly, we then avoid trying to get the sleep that our mind may desperately need to help us heal.

Changes to appetite

When we’re feeling low, eating can feel pointless, unnecessary or too much. We may miss meal after meal and rarely feel pangs of hunger, showing little interest around mealtimes. Knowing we should maybe eat something, we may turn to fast food or snacks as cooking can become to feel like a mammoth chore. Alternatively, we may find ourselves eating more, drawn to foods high in carbs in a bid to make us feel better, albeit temporarily. Sometimes our minds may even take notice of our changed appetite and use it against us to 'prove' how ‘useless I am’.

Avoiding contact with others

When our motivations and interests are consumed by our feelings of depression, we may stop connecting with other people. Friends who we frequently speak to can fall by the wayside. Interest in family members lives can be hard to come by and our sense of connection to the world feels diminished. We may feel astray, lost and a sense of shame for not being the person we used to be.

Relationship difficulties

With our feelings (or lack of) consuming our minds and bodies, we may stop acting in ways that are congruent with our values around maintaining healthy relationships with friends and family. Instead, we may come to feel safer keeping things to ourselves whilst feelings of frustration with others grow. When we’re utterly stuck with our feelings of depression, it can feel remarkably difficult to reach out and have honest conversations with those closest to us. Instead, frustrations often ‘come out sideways’ through a snarky remark, ignoring or ending of a relationship in a bid to try and make ourselves feel better. Ultimately, such actions serve to further distance ourselves from the world around us.

Feeling hopeless

The feelings associated with depression can feel heavy, bleak and persistent. They can be there from the moment we wake up to the moment we get some sleep...only to come right back in when we open our eyes once more. We may find ourselves wondering if this is what life will be like forever? Will we ever get better? Why can’t I just be like how I was before? How did things come to be like this? As our mind tries to answer these questions, we may develop feelings of hopelessness and become increasingly certain that the future will be the same as the present.

Having suicidal thoughts

When we feel at our very worst, when our mind is telling us our depression has won, thoughts of suicide may enter into our minds as the only way forward. These thoughts can be frightening and, because of how we’re feeling, may make sense. Importantly, this is what the mind does. When we feel ourselves thinking about suicide, seeking help from a life/health coach, going to the NHS website or contacting a mental health agency is vital. Often speaking about these thoughts without fear of judgement can be soothing in itself.

Don’t let this be you...fight the struggle to survive depression

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