Depression may feel like a slow moving sadness because it can be a persistent and long-lasting emotion that can gradually intensify over time. It can feel like a heavy weight that weighs down on an individual’s mind, body, and spirit, making it difficult to find joy in life. It might also be a slow-moving emotion, gradually eroding a person’s motivation and energy.
Like any mental health condition, depression is complex and can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience classic symptoms of depression, while others may experience more subtle signs like changes in appetite, social withdrawal, or physical complaints. Here are five subtle signs that depression may be sneaking up on you.
- Things that used to make you happy don’t anymore
- Having Trouble Sleeping
- Avoiding Social Activities
- Becoming More Critical of Others
- Physical Complaints and Weight Loss
1. Things that used to make you happy don’t anymore
One of the symptoms of depression is the loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyable, also known as anhedonia.
There are several possible reasons why things that used to make you happy no longer do so when you’re depressed:
- Chemical imbalances in the brain: Depression is often linked to imbalances in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine, which can affect the brain’s reward system and how it responds to pleasurable experiences.
- Negative thinking patterns: Depression can also lead to negative thinking patterns, such as feeling hopeless or helpless, which can make it difficult to feel positive emotions or enjoyment.
- Physical and emotional exhaustion: Depression can cause physical and emotional exhaustion, which can make it difficult to engage in activities that require energy and motivation.
- Decreased social interaction: People with depression may also withdraw from social activities and relationships, which can further contribute to feelings of isolation and disinterest in activities they once enjoyed.
2. Having Trouble Sleeping
Depression can affect your sleep in a number of ways. Here are a few possible explanations:
- Disrupted circadian rhythm: Depression can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, which controls your sleep-wake cycle. This can lead to difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too early.
- Changes in neurotransmitters: Depression is associated with changes in certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are involved in regulating mood, but they also play a role in regulating sleep. When they are disrupted, it can lead to sleep problems.
- Increased rumination: Depression can cause you to ruminate or dwell on negative thoughts, worries, and fears. This kind of rumination can make it hard to quiet your mind and relax enough to fall asleep.
- Lack of energy: People with depression often experience fatigue or a lack of energy, which can make it difficult to stay awake during the day and lead to oversleeping or napping, which can then interfere with nighttime sleep.
- Medication side effects: Some medications used to treat depression, such as certain antidepressants, can have side effects that affect sleep, such as causing drowsiness or insomnia.
3. Avoiding Social Activities
Depression can often make people avoid social situations. Depression can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, and low self-esteem, which can make it difficult to engage with others. It can also make people feel tired, have difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and experience a lack of interest or pleasure in activities they used to enjoy. These symptoms can all contribute to a desire to avoid social situations.
In addition, depression can also cause negative thoughts and beliefs about oneself and others, leading to a distorted view of social situations. For example, someone with depression may believe that others don’t like them or that they will be rejected, which can lead them to avoid social situations altogether.
It’s important to note that avoiding social situations can also worsen depression symptoms over time, as social support can be an important factor in recovering from depression.
4. Becoming More Critical of Others
It is possible that depression can cause you to become more critical of others, but this can vary from person to person. When someone is experiencing depression, they may feel irritable, frustrated, and negative, which can lead to critical thoughts and behaviors towards others. They may find themselves more easily annoyed by others’ actions or perceive others as not meeting their expectations, which can trigger critical responses.
In addition, people with depression may experience a negative thinking pattern called cognitive distortions, which can lead to critical thinking towards themselves and others. Examples of cognitive distortions include all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, and personalization, which can lead to seeing things in a more negative light than they actually are.
It’s essential to be aware of these thoughts and feelings and try to take steps to manage them.
5. Physical Complaints and Weight Loss
Depression can cause a range of physical complaints, which can vary from person to person. Here are some of the most common physical complaints associated with depression:
- Fatigue and low energy: People with depression often experience low energy levels and fatigue. They may feel exhausted even after getting enough sleep.
- Body aches and pains: Depression can cause physical pain, including headaches, back pain, and muscle aches.
- Digestive problems: Depression can cause digestive issues, including stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
- Changes in appetite: Some people with depression experience changes in appetite, which can result in weight gain or weight loss.
- Sexual dysfunction: Depression can also cause sexual problems, including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and difficulty reaching orgasm.
It’s important to note that these physical symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional to determine the cause of the symptoms.
Depression Therapy Help in Lakewood CO & Longmont CO
If you are struggling with depression, know that you are not alone. We’d like to help you with counseling so you can start to feel better and get back to your life.
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with a therapy specialist. You can learn more about our Depression Therapy services by clicking this link.