11 Warning Signs of Depression

African American Woman Looking Down

Is it really depression or just a case of the blues? It’s not always easy to tell the difference, especially when an older adult has what seems like good reason to be depressed, such as a chronic illness or loss of a loved one. But depression is very different from the blues in terms of duration and severity.

Most cases of the blues resolve on their own and don’t prevent a person from finding some enjoyment in life. The key components of depression are:

  • Duration:The symptoms are present almost all the time and last for more than a few weeks.
  • Severity: Depression is usually more severe, causing symptoms that are difficult enough to deal with that they interfere with daily life.

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Here are 11 different warning signs of depression. Keep in mind that depressed people don’t all experience the same symptoms, and the severity of symptoms may vary. But if someone exhibits several of these symptoms for more than two weeks, he may need help.

1. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings

2. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or helplessness

3. Frequent crying episodes

4. Increased agitation and restlessness

5. Fatigue and decreased energy

6. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that once were pleasurable

7. Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

8. Sleeping too much or not enough

9. Poor appetite or overeating

10. Expressing thoughts of dying or suicide

11. Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that don’t ease with treatment

Also, you might check out http://www.caring.com/articles/how-to-help-someone-with-depression

By Stephanie Trelogan, Caring.com senior editor

Copied from http://www.caring.com/articles/depression-signs#

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What Not to Say to a Depressed Person

by Therese J Brochard

I’m always on the lookout for articles that touch on ways to communicate to a friend or family member who is depressed. It’s a delicate issue and one that deserves some serious attention. I found this quiz on Everyday Health.  Essentially it states what you should, and should not say to a loved one struggling with depression. — Bryan

 1. Snap out of it!

Your loved one hasn’t left the house in what seems like days. Should you tell him to pull himself up by his bootstraps and just snap out of it?

Don’t say it.

You may be tempted to tell someone who’s depressed to stop moping around and just shake it off. But depression is not something patients can turn on and off, and they’re not able to respond to such pleas. Instead, tell your loved one that you’re available to help them in any way you can.

 

2. What do you have to be depressed about?

In a world full of wars, hunger, poverty, abuse, and other ills, you may feel impatient when someone you love feels depressed. So do you remind him how lucky he is?

Don’t say it.

You can’t argue someone out of feeling depressed, but you can help by acknowledging that you’re aware of his pain. Try saying something like “I’m sorry that you’re feeling so bad.”

 

3. Why don’t you go for a nice walk?

Exercise is a known way to lift your mood. Is it a good idea to suggest that your loved one with depression go out and enjoy some fresh air and activity?

Say it — but with a caveat.

By definition, depression keeps you from wanting to engage in everyday activities. But you can show your support by offering to take a walk, go to a movie, or do some other activity with your loved one. How about: “I know you don’t feel like going out, but let’s go together.”

 

4. It’s all in your head.

Some people believe that depression is an imaginary disease and that it’s possible to think yourself into feeling depressed and down. Should you tell your loved one that depression is just a state of mind — and if she really wanted to, she could lift her mood with positive thoughts?

Don’t say it.

Suggesting that depression is imagined is neither constructive nor accurate. Although depression can’t be “seen” from the outside, it is a real medical condition and can’t be thought or wished away. Try saying instead: “I know that you have a real illness that’s causing you to feel this way.”

 

5. Seeing a therapist is probably a good idea.

You think your loved one could benefit from talking to a mental health professional. Should you say so?

Say it. And say it again.

Reinforcing the benefits of treatment is important. Encourage the idea of getting professional help if that step hasn’t yet been taken. This is especially important if your loved one has withdrawn so much that she is not saying anything. Try telling her, “You will get better with the right help.” Suggest alternatives if you don’t see any improvement from the initial treatment in about six to eight weeks.

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For other suggestions on what to say and what not to say, check out Everyday Health’s post.

Also, see Psych Central’s our list of the worst things to say to someone who’s depressed.

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Straining at Your Oars

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”

Mark 6:48

It is good for us to know that Jesus sees our labor and effort.  He perceives all that concerns us, and he knows the issues that matter most.  Attentive and keenly aware he comes.  It is quite common for us to think that he isn’t aware, and we may feel that he will pass us by without a word.  But that is not the case at all.

Jesus watches us, all the time.  He knows the battle, the fight we have with our flesh, and the difficulty we have with the challenging people in our lives.  Not everyone loves me, and I struggle a large part of the time.  My depression, and my paranoid fears cannot obscure his sight.  Jesus knows when (and why) I labor like I do.  And he doesn’t condemn me at all.

The disciples were straining very hard to move the boat.  Every oar was being used and every man had his seat.  They probably tried to work together.  Considerable effort was being expended, but to no avail.  The wind pushed harder against them.  This is perplexing.  If you remember, they are trying to obey the command of Jesus to cross the sea.  Why do things have to be so difficult?

I’m intrigued by believers who expect sunshine, blue sky and red roses because they are doing God’s Will.  They don’t seem to factor in the issue of conflict and challenge.  They see “Goliath” and they pretend that he doesn’t exist, and that the battle to come is of no consequence.  We are sorely mistaken.

Doing the will of God will often mean that there will be a headwind directly at us.  The seas will become impossible, and we may even be driven back.  But special comfort comes, when we realize we are being watched.  Jesus is doing constant surveillance on us, and he even sees our toil on the oars.  What a precious promise.

“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”

(Matthew 28:20).

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