Warning Signs of DepressionQUESTION: What are the warning signs of depression?ANSWER:
If you are more aware of the warning signs of depression you will be in a better position to tackle it before it overwhelms you.
We live in a far from perfect world. You are bound to encounter some unfavorable, unfair, or irritating circumstances. If you have not accepted this fact you may be in line for short term if not long term depression. So, avoid the fatalistic cry of, "Woe is me!" This attitude saps you of the necessary strength to extricate yourself from the situation around you.
What about your temperament - your innate response to life? If your temperament has a mix of melancholy, then there is the tendency to worry, be in despair, criticize and condemn. If not curbed, this constant approach to life may be a warning sign for potential depression. Here are some signs you may encounter when depressed:
- Appetite and Sleep Changes: Depression altars a person's appetite, frequently causing a lack of appetite, but occasionally increasing hunger. Depression also causes disruption of a person's sleeping patterns. A person may tend to over sleep, but sleep for a shorter time period.
- Changes in Energy Level: There are two extremes concerning energy levels in depressed people. Some find themselves fidgety and easily agitated, while others become sluggish and inactive. A person may experience difficulty in thinking, poor concentration and problems with memory.
- Poor Self-Esteem: A depressed person is often overwhelmed by feelings of worthlessness, guilt, self-blame, and helplessness. The person maintains a distorted view of reality; they see an ugly person when they look in the mirror, a complement becomes a criticism, and life becomes too difficult to live out. Seriously depressed people often contemplate suicide.
- Psychotic Symptoms: Delusions (false beliefs) and hallucinations (false sensory perceptions) are sometimes prevalent among seriously depressed people. People with such symptoms need to be hospitalized. When they are released from the hospital, they are often moody when they get out and still consider suicide as a viable way out of their misery.
The warning signs of depression mentioned above have a common link: your mental approach to life. You may think: "How simple, all I have to do is have a better outlook on life?" Not so fast, if a negative mental attitude has been your first defense or your only approach to life up till now, it is going to take considerable doing to reverse it.
I trust that you have not resigned yourself to living like this since you may be only too familiar with how far down it has taken you or others around you.
Why not take the approach of David, a man in the Bible? "David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God" (1 Samuel 30:6).
Do not try to overcome this depression on your own; ask God through Jesus Christ to help you in the renewing of your mental attitude and the refocusing of your entire life in accordance with the purpose He has for you. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior..." (Psalm 42.5).