The Warning Signs of Depression & 3 Ways to Stop It
Depression is a complicated experience for those of us that have to deal with it. It takes years to realize you even suffer from it, let alone understand it and to learn how to manage it in a way that works best for you.
Depression can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The good news is, once you learn how depression affects you you can learn what early warning signs there are before a major episode hits.
I have my master’s degree in social work and have more than 4 years working in the mental health field, yet depression still affects me! It can affect anyone. No one is safe! No but for real, there are a lot of people out there that manage depression. Don’t feel alone in this.
Honestly though, the reason I’m writing this is because I finally accepted the fact that warning signs have been firing off all over the place in my life lately. My journey from here forward may be helpful for you by answering these questions: 1. What are warning signs of depression? What can be done right now to stop depression in its tracks?
Warning Signs of Depression
You don’t feel like doing anything, even the things you normally enjoy.
There has been a change in your appetite: eating more than or less than normal.
You feel exhausted all the time.
You feel more stressed than normal; things that normally wouldn’t stress you out are.
You are much more irritable and grumpy.
Your thoughts have been more negative and you’re having trouble being positive.
You feel down/sad.
You feel guilty or shameful for feeling the way you do.
You’ve stopped doing things you normally do: make-up, hair, brushing your teeth, etc.
There has been a big life change in your life.
How to Stop Depression from Growing
Do you find yourself doing any of these things? If so that is completely okay. It’s a really huge step just accepting the fact that your depression may be growing.
After accepting that something needs to change, it’s time to take some action.
Every day we push ourselves to be the best we can possibly be while getting done everything that we possibly can, spreading ourselves real thin. You’re doing the best you can. Understand that it is 100% okay that you are going through this right now. This does not make you any less of a person. You’re uniquely you, no one can take that from you.
If you’re reading this you’ve accepted that you are experiencing some level of depression. That is the most important step. Give yourself some credit for getting here. Now you can focus on making a change.
Get Back to the Basic: Sleep, Eating, Exercise, etc.
I find it helpful to focus on getting back to whatever it was I was doing before I started feeling down. For me this means getting up earlier in the mornings and starting the day on a positive relaxing note, engaging in some sort of physical activity after work, working on my blog, spending time with my fiancé and dogs, and practicing gratitude.
This will look different for everyone. Whatever your normal is, try to get back to that. While making sure you are sleeping, eating, and caring for you.
Engage in Self-Care
Most often, when people begin to feel depressed they push self-care down to the bottom of the list. It can be hard to focus on doing things for yourself when you really don’t even want to leave your home. Let me tell you though, self-care is vital and so worth it, always.
It’s usually helpful for me to focus on doing one self-care activity a day. A self-care activity can be anything from doing your hair, brushing your teeth, painting your nails, putting one of your favorite scents into a diffuser, burning your favorite candle, taking your dogs for a walk, working out, watching your favorite show, eating your favorite foods to going on vacation, taking a road trip to a new place, visiting your family, and so on. Absolutely anything you enjoy will qualify as self-care.
You are loved, seen, valued, and needed. Care for yourself.
Are you interested in more self-care ideas? Check out these two posts!
Ask for Help
Is your depression too progressed for these suggestions to be helpful at this point? If so, I want you to know it is okay to reach out to someone. Reach out to your family, your friends, a therapist/counselor/socialworker, mental health agency, the crisis and access line, anyone that is a positive outlet for you.
Your mental health matters. There are people who want you to be healthy and happy. Reach out.