Depression can creep into the soul unaware. Sad happenings tend to invite this beast. Suddenly you wake up and find the darkness overwhelming, all joy stolen. You turn the light on, but the gloom does not lift. The sun rises, but there is no warmth. Sadness demands not just a portion of your life, but life itself.
With depression edging in, my physician asked some pertinent questions and carefully analyzed whether I needed medication. Though my sadness was deemed circumstantial, she cautioned that I could run the risk of falling into a deep depression where even with medication it is difficult to overcome. She recommended I carefully monitor the warning signs and be honest with myself.
This following list from Helpguide.org is a great resource to identify warning signs for the onset of depression.
- Suicidal thoughts or recurrent thoughts of death.
- Depressed mood where you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how hard you try.
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities that you used to enjoy. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex (in the case of infidelity, it is natural for intimacy to be difficult for a time.) You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
- Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
- Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
- Irritability or restlessness. Feeling agitated, restless, or on edge. Your tolerance level is low; everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
- Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
- Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things, or find that previously easy tasks are not difficult.
- Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
If you are like me and have a predisposed hereditary influence of depression in your family, you may find that during this time of acute personal crisis the risk is heightened. Pay close attention to this list. You do not want depression to set in for any length of time before you reach out for help. There is no shame in needing medication. I was fully prepared to use it if my emotional health had worsened. I am thankful for the blessing of controlling an onslaught of deeper depression with diet, exercise and prayer, and not have the side effects of medication to deal with.