5 Depression Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore
Depression is not just a feeling or a state of mind. More commonly referred to as major depressive disorder or clinical depression in the medical community, depression is a mood disorder that affects how you think, feel, and behave.
Sadness is Not Depression
Blurring the lines between depression and sadness is often damaging to those who are suffering from major depressive disorder. The most recognizable symptom of depression may be sadness, but that one similarity does not equate the two.
Sadness is a painful and difficult emotion to feel, however, treating depression the same as sadness minimizes the illness.
Think about it this way: when someone you love is sad, you expect that at some point, the sadness will pass and your loved one will get over it. In the meantime, you will do whatever you can to cheer them up, make them forget about what’s upsetting them, or offer a shoulder to cry on.
Depression is much more than just sadness. If you expect that at some point your loved one’s depression will just go away – it won’t.
Treating depression like sadness is dangerous, as it confuses an illness with a symptom. When we expect people to get over depression similarly to how they overcome sadness, we set them up for failure.
An individual who remains depressed over an extended period of time is suddenly thought of as lazy and unmotivated, as we begin to lose patience over their ongoing bout of “sadness.” We blame the person for not trying hard enough, rather than blaming the illness itself.
As someone who has depression, how many times have you heard the following?
- What is there to be depressed about?
- Just think of something else.
- Smile! It’s not that bad.
- It’s all in your head.
- You should be grateful.
- Happiness is a choice.
- There are plenty of people who are worse off than you.
- Just get over it.
These platitudes are often spoken by those who incorrectly use “depression” and “sadness” as interchangeable terms.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a mood disorder that can affect you in a multitude of different ways. With both emotional and physical symptoms to deal with, depression can make it difficult to lead a normal life.
To be diagnosed with clinical depression, you need to experience some or all of the following depression symptoms for at least two weeks. If you identify with one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor for more information and next steps.