There are many stereotypes about people who are depressed. These stereotypes tend to characterize depressed people as morbid, suicidal, reclusive, strange, or mentally ill. In actuality, none of these stereotypes are true: they are misinformed and dangerous. People who believe in these stereotypes are blind to the reality of what depression actually means for people every day.
In actuality, people who are depressed look and act like everyone else, and only a small percentage of depressed individuals commit suicide. At a glance, you probably can't tell whether someone is depressed. If you are depressed, you do not need to worry that anyone knows or can tell. Chances are that you appear normal, healthy, and happy to the world: your struggle with depression is hidden and internal.
The symptoms of depression can vary in severity from person to person. You might experience feelings of sadness, anger, and loneliness for a short or long period of time. You might have trouble sleeping, and you may lose interest in social relationships, work, and sex. You may feel tired all the time, and you may experience aches and pains that you cannot otherwise explain.
Other common symptoms include:
- Anger, agitation, irritability, restlessness
- Weight gain or weight loss associated with appetite changes
- Problems focusing at work or at school
- Excessive guilt
- Thoughts of death and suicide
- Trouble sleeping, insomnia, sleeping too much
- Inactivity and withdrawal
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Feeling hopeless
You might experience one or many of these symptoms depending on what is causing your depression, and you might not even notice that your symptoms are related to depression. You may feel anger, pain, and trouble concentrating without feeling hopeless or sad. Over time, your symptoms may fluctuate, worsen, or improve for no identifiable reason or cause.
Try to maintain an accurate record of your symptoms and how they change in order to help a medical professional diagnose what type of depression you have. With an accurate diagnosis, you will be able to receive targeted and effective treatments that can help you feel better. With the right treatment, your symptoms will go away.
People who believe that they are depressed should consult a doctor immediately: in no situation is it right for you to experience a diminished quality of life. Your feelings of sadness and hopelessness are unwarranted, and you do not deserve to experience a problem that does not exist in reality.
If you start to experience violent behavior, or if you notice that your friend or family member is lashing out, you should seek help immediately. You do not want to be a threat to yourself or others. If you do not seek help, you may jeopardize your job, family, or social relationships.
Thoughts of suicide should never be ignored or taken lightly. If you or a loved one is thinking about death, you should talk to a medical professional immediately.
Sometimes, people are unwilling to seek help on their own, and they may not believe that they have a problem. Be patient with them, avoid provoking conflict, and contact a medical professional about your concerns. Each case should be treated as unique, especially if you are looking for an effective and quick solution.