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Most Common Severe Depression Symptoms: What Are Them Signs?
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May 4, 2022
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Depression

Most Common Severe Depression Symptoms: What Are Them Signs?

✨POV✨: You are inundated by emotion, feelings, and thoughts. You are experiencing a lot - emotions at peak intensity and fleeting thoughts with max conviction. It isn't rosy, it's overwhelming to feel so strongly, so often. It's weighing down on you and you're tired.
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Is this normal?
Nope, here’s what is not normal.
An experience that isn't spoken of often is the first-ever time one experiences depression and its symptoms. It's crazy - we go from being okay and peachy to being plagued by a raging internal conflict.
We feel so unlike ourselves but the very fact that we are feeling all of it is soo bloody confusing. Yes, obviously there is a trigger and depressive symptoms don't show up overnight - but even the gradual shift can be worthy of some hair-pulling.

The Feeling of Depression 💔

It becomes hard to articulate what is happening or why, when people around us seem to be doing alright. Our identity gets pulled into question, our brains (and tear ducts) begin to work after hours, and questions (on top of questions, on top of seeds of overthinking) lead us to feel sensitive and get easily triggered.
Every negative thing we've ever said or thoughts gets connected to every action.
How? Somehow.
Our logic (which is mildly compromised when we're overwhelmed) pieces instances of regret, guilt, disappointment, sadness, anger, loss, and shame together, in a neat little frame, as though that is the picture of our life. And that, my fren, is the ruse of depression.
The experience of depression is subjective - how we feel, think, and behave may be very different from another person who is also struggling with depression. But because this experience affects our choices and decisions, it calls for help. To guide us out of this mirrored bubble and see ourselves for who we really are.

Science does this by introducing the objective element to severe depression - symptoms and treatments.

Common Severe Depression Symptoms 🚧

Not all symptoms of depression may be present for everyone. When the majority of symptoms are present and chronic (last for a significant amount of time), they can indicate severe depression. To know more about the difference between sadness and depression, click here.
A person's depression symptoms may vary based on triggers, personality type, biological/physical makeup, and their environment.

😢 Low mood, mood swings, and crying spells

Ambushed by feelings like, 'I feel like crying' or 'I feel like everything is a mess'.
These symptoms of depression are one of the most common - when we just feel off. We can't help but feel deep sadness about ourselves, our lives, or the people we are surrounded by. Smaller joys - the coolness of the breeze, humor, or eating our favorite foods - are missed because of this perpetual-seeming state of internal gloom and rain.

😰 Low self-esteem, overthinking, and anxiety

Plagued with feelings like, 'I am unable to accept the way the pandemic has changed my life' or 'I just want to stop worrying so much all the time'.
These symptoms tend to be a sign that we are stuck in the past or future, rather than being present. We fret and worry over situations that we had/have no control over. This tendency to fixate on negative experiences of the past and be unable to accept them is linked to low self-esteem (holding a poor opinion of ourselves). It is then that we seek validation from external sources, past experiences, and the future (perceived as an extension of the past and not our present).

💢 Irritability, anger, agitation, or frustration

With frequent thoughts like, 'I get so angry over little things'.
When we are vexed by our internal turmoil (of too many, and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings), our tolerance and patience levels go down (very understandably so). We may lose our cool often and get triggered by seemingly harmless situations. Our reactions to the world around us tend to become disproportionate and seem extra to others.

It's like being asked and expected to meditate on a crowded, noisy, and bustling street. Not only does meditation seem impossible, but keeping calm in general also does - with uncomfortable thoughts bumping into you and intense emotions stepping on your toes the entire time.

😫 Feeling restless, helpless, and hopeless

Fearing uncomfortable thoughts like, 'I feel like I am unworthy of love and care' or 'I feel lost and I don't know what to do'.
When the unexpectedness, strangeness, and intensity of our thoughts and emotions begin to affect our regular life, we may feel a loss of control, which is not exactly true.
If this is how I think and feel, this is who I must be.

But no, depression is not us. It may feel like we don't know who we are anymore, but that's the illness talking. With the intensity overload, it's like being stranded on a random island on your own. Our survival instinct is kicking in (restlessness), but over time we become lost and beaten (hopelessness and helplessness).

🥱 Fatigue and lethargy

Looking like, 'I just don't feel like doing anything'.
This is one of the ways in which our body reacts to the stress our mind is under. Some psychiatrists speculate that these symptoms are caused by inflammation in the body, which may be a result of disrupted hormones and brain chemicals. High levels of cortisol (our stress hormone) - which are common in people with depression - are linked with feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
The tiredness may also be caused by sleep disturbances, another common depressive symptom.
It's like feeling dead-tired even after a nap. Like we have none-to-zero energy to expend - even on basic functions like bathing, eating regular meals, or getting out of bed. It's mental and physical fatigue.

🌫️ Brain fog, low productivity & poor concentration

Hand-in-hand with thoughts like, 'I keep procrastinating' or 'I am very easily distracted'.
These symptoms directly affect our academic and work life. We may feel fuzzy, confused, and disoriented often and regularly - struggling with functions like keeping track of time, recollecting (and forming) memories, or giving our undivided attention to tasks.

A shutdown of our attention is the flip side of our thought and emotional hyperactivity. We become less adept at processing our external world and stimuli since so much of our energy goes into self-regulation of the internal whirlwind.

💊 Change in eating and sleeping patterns

With regular thoughts like, 'I woke up feeling tired' or 'I eat when I’m stressed'.
An extreme tendency tends to show up in our eating and sleeping patterns due to depression.
We may either be not eating enough or binge-eating; struggling with insomnia or oversleeping. And since eating and sleeping are intrinsically connected - each symptom can cause the other and so on and so forth.
These symptoms can have biological as well as psychological roots. But no matter what the roots are, when the most basic body functions are disturbed, our entire body gets affected.
We may not receive the nutrition we need - which hurts our immunity, sends SOS signals in our brain (causing further stress), and affects how normally we can function. Which also includes how well sleep. When we don't receive the rest we need - our brain becomes less sharp, we overeat to regain energy and take riskier decisions.

🐺 Social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities

Avoiding life because of thoughts like, 'I don't have the confidence to speak up at work/school' or 'I am so scared of failure that I can't even start'.
These may be considered the poster-children of depression symptoms. Imagine a person being holed up in their rooms, not engaging with other human beings, and staying limp. It is a cliche, but there's truth to it. This symptom is also called anhedonia (literally translating to: without pleasure).
The overwhelming feelings and our bodily responses (mentioned above) may make us feel too unstable or vulnerable to be engaged in activities. Since social interactions and interests both involve external stimuli (which were pleasurable before), we may not feel up for any added stimulation.

How We Can Treat Depression and Overcome It ❤️‍🩹

Identifying and understanding our symptoms help in choosing the most appropriate treatment option for us. This process of healing - from diagnosis to being treated - is generally led by mental health professionals, but can also be jump-started by us through transitioning to healthier coping mechanisms.
We need to pay attention to how our symptoms affect our day-to-day life to better understand our way forward. To know more about the steps we can take to boost our healing journey, click here.

Last Word on Mental Health 🤍

One tricky aspect of depression is that the symptoms themselves become risk factors for the mental illness - a domino effect.
But never to worry, we know a lot about depression and other mood disorder(s) now - which means that we know how to hack them, in ways and steps that are as surprising as they are effective :)  We got this.

How? Click here to test the waters of mini-therapy.

Note on Mental Disorders🚩

Depression (aka clinical depression, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is a mental illness that can be of two different types - mild depression (aka persistent depressive disorder) and major depression (aka severe depression or major depressive disorder). Common symptoms of depression include prolonged depressed mood, low self-esteem, mood swings, loss of interest, and having trouble focusing. If you have symptoms of severe depression (medically reviewed and diagnosed by licensed mental health professionals) or thoughts of self-harm, please use the national suicide prevention lifeline or contact a mental health professional to seek treatment options.
It is also common for other mood disorders like bipolar disorder or premenstrual dysphoric disorder to occur alongside clinical depression. Antidepressant medications may be prescribed in the case of severe symptoms, in combination with a form of therapy such as interpersonal therapy or brain stimulation therapy.

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