Sometimes depression can creep up on us in unexpected and subtle ways. Did you know about these unusual symptoms?
CREDIT: This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Happiful
When it comes to mental health conditions, while we may experience them different ways, there are often some unifying factors that connect these experiences. Depression comes in many forms, and sometimes it can sneak up on us without us realising but, when we are able to watch out for the signs, we can get support sooner.
So, how can you spot it? We explore 12 things you may not have realised could be symptoms of depression.
A sense of apathy
To feel apathetic is to lose interest, enthusiasm or concern for the things that would normally spark something inside you.
Sometimes, physical pain can cause depression – particularly if it’s ongoing or chronic; at other times depression can actually cause physical pain. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, depression can sometimes manifest itself in joint, limb, and back pain, as well as headaches and gastrointestinal problems.
Change in your appetite
Whether it’s eating more than you usually would, or finding that you don’t have much of an appetite, depression and low mood can often affect how much you feel like eating.
Trouble falling asleep
Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? Or waking up at intervals, or in the early hours of the morning? Every night, 22% of people reportedly struggle to fall asleep, and many of these cases are likely to be connected to mental health problems.
It may be due to a mixture of other symptoms coming together, including sleep problems and apathy, but our concentration can falter when experiencing depression. You could find that your mind wanders more than it would do normally, that you are struggling to get through tasks, or are battling with ‘brain fog’ – and this could be linked to low mood.
Perhaps you have been experiencing low mood, which leads you to stay in bed for longer than usual in the morning. When you get up, you feel groggy and fatigued, and so you go to bed early – or lie-in again – and the pattern repeats itself. This is a lethargy cycle, and it has the potential to take over your routines and wellbeing.
Anger or irritability
It’s often noted that anger can be a more prominent symptom in men who are experiencing depression. Of course, though there may be some truth to this, when it comes to gender and mental health, it’s complicated and, ultimately, all genders may find that they experience a greater level of anger, frustration and irritability.
Often forgetting the finer details of events
According to a study published in the French journal L’Encéphale, those who are living with depression may find that they have trouble remembering the specific details of events. For example, you may remember going out on a day-trip; you can recall where you went, but you might find yourself forgetting who you went with, where you had lunch, or what the weather was like.
Better recall of negative events
On the other hand, a study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry found that those with depression might experience ‘negative memory biases’. This means that they are more easily able to recall negative memories – difficult times stick with them in more detail than those who have not experienced depression.
In a similar way to physical pain, skin problems can both cause, and be an effect of, depression. Psychodermatology is the study of how the mind and skin work with – and sometimes against – each other. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that more than one-third of those with skin conditions go on to have psychiatric consultations.
Depression and anxiety often come hand-in-hand with each other, and it can sometimes be difficult to separate the two. While many of the symptoms are distinct from one another, others do overlap – irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleep disruptions, for example – and you could observe that they feed into one another.
Feelings of guilt
Depression can sometimes bring with it a mound of guilt – perhaps around not be able to perform your duties at work, or about neglecting your relationships. As with the other symptoms here, this can only make you feel worse, and it’s worth remembering that it’s OK to let some things slide when you’re struggling – not every text, email, or call needs a reply within the hour. In addition, depression could be making you harder on yourself, your self-image skewed by low mood, so it’s worth reaching out to others for reassurance and affirmation if this is something you’re struggling with.
If you are struggling with depression, know that you do not need to do it alone. There are helplines you can call for immediate support, and you can visit your GP, or head to Counselling Directory to connect with a wellbeing professional.