Because depression really challenges and colors your life, it can affect your emotions, your energy, sleep patterns, mental functions, etc. The first step is to ask yourself a few questions to determine if you are dealing with any of the symptoms of depression.
Your emotions – While we all experience the occasional “off day”, prolonged feelings of sadness for no apparent reason are definitely not normal. Life is admittedly an ongoing challenge, and events happen in our lives that make us feel sad; feeling appropriately sad is very different from depression. Along with feeling prolonged sadness, emotions that accompany depression may include feelings of overwhelm, hopelessness, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, and in extreme cases, thoughts of suicide. It’s important to ask yourself if you ever feel any of these emotions on a regular or ongoing basis.
Your energy level – Feeling tired all the time or nearly all the time is another clue you may be dealing with depression. Constant fatigue, losing interest in things you used to enjoy and just not having the energy to be engaged and active on a regular basis are other symptoms.
Sleep – Sleeping too much or not enough may be a symptom of depression. It may seem odd, but depression can manifest as sleeping or as not being able to sleep; either is possible as a symptom. Waking up at 3 or 4 am is a classic symptom and was one that bothered me for years!
Weight – A change in your weight of more than 5% in a month, either gaining or losing, may be an indication that you are dealing with depression. This is of special note if you haven’t been trying to gain or lose weight. Depression can affect your appetite which we most often expect will be manifested as weight gain, but it can also lead to weight loss.
Unexplained Aches & Pains – Depression can cause physical discomfort and may be the answer if you are experiencing unexplained physical aches and pains. Personally, with my depression, I never experienced aches and pains, however, I have read that up to 76% of patients with major depressive disorder have reported experiencing physical symptoms which can include headaches, stomach pain, back pain, etc.
Thinking & Concentrating – If you experience chronic difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions, it may be associated with depression. Always being preoccupied with how awful you feel is a major issue. For me, I was so busy inside my head trying to deal with my daily life that thinking about life on the outside in the real world was always a challenge. By the way, depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide!
You don’t have to experience every symptom listed here to be dealing with depression. I didn’t check every one of them off on my list of complaints and challenges, but I was certain I was dealing with depression.
Your gene pool may allow depression to be triggered as it does occur in families. Like other health challenges, just because someone in your family suffers with depression does not mean you have to live with the symptoms of depression. Research continues to show what we eat and what we are exposed to in our daily lives can turn on the genes that manifest disease. The trick here is to eat and live so you don’t turn on those genes.
Quick advice is to skip the fast food or pizza and grab a salad with a small serving of protein. If you make this your go-to way to eat, you will feel better mentally and physically. You’ll drop a few pounds without dieting as well!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
P.S. Check out all the free recipes for great tasting healthy eating in the Recipe Section at http://ThinStrongHealthy.com