You may have heard it said before: depression is the common cold of mental illness. In fact, some estimates place the lifetime prevalence of major depressive disorder as high as 20.6%, which is an incredibly high number. Because the symptoms of depression cover many areas of life, it can be possible for you to be suffering from it without even knowing.
Signs of Silent Depression
One of the symptoms of major depressive episodes includes fatigue and loss of energy. The fatigue and loss of energy usually occur with no reason or as a side effect of a symptom such as insomnia. In major depression, you will find that these symptoms show up despite no major changes in routine or additional physical activity. This is one of the tell-tale signs that you may be suffering because of a silent depression.
Sometimes, depression makes a person feel worthless. This is one of the most dangerous symptoms. It can cause you to lose the motivation to find help, stop caring for your body, and start to plan for your death. You likely will not fear death at this point because you cannot see any reason to stay alive. If you notice that you have this symptom, then you should seek help immediately.
A silent depression may also impact your memory and attention. You may find it harder to pay attention to a lecture or to listen to your manager relay a new policy. You may be unable to complete concentration-driven tasks in life. Depression can also make it harder for you to recall information, and it makes you more likely to encode the negative emotions of a memory rather than positive emotions.
If you are suffering from a silent depression, you may notice that your sleeping habits are different. Some people will experience insomnia, which means that they are unable to sleep well. This can lead to a loss of energy, fatigue, and other severe symptoms. Other people suffer from hypersomnia. People with hypersomnia sleep much more than usual, and they may experience fatigue and energy loss as well.
Depression often leads to changes in a person’s appetite, so if you have depression you may notice that you are suddenly gaining or losing weight. The change in appetite can also affect sleep, energy, and fatigue. If you are eating too little, you will be tired, fatigued, and with little energy. If you are eating too much, you will be less tired, fatigued, and with too much or neutral energy. Regardless, this symptom is distressing to many people.
Most people have hobbies that bring them pleasure, but if you have depression, you may experience anhedonia. What this means is that you will begin to lose interest in the things that you used to love. This can cause you to empty gaps in time, which can contribute to overeating and oversleeping. Anhedonia can also lead to feelings of worthlessness and a desire to die if it becomes severe enough.
If your mood is almost always down, you may be suffering from depression. People with depression tend to have extremely low moods, either of sadness or emptiness. Additionally, as depression worsens, you may find that you care for yourself less and less. This will lead to an overall deterioration of general health that can increase the magnitude of every other symptom of depression.
In truth, to qualify for major depression you need only have five of the listed symptoms last for greater than or equal to two weeks without the presence of a manic or hypomanic episode. Thankfully, depression is common, which means that psychologists and psychiatrists have effective ways to treat it.
From medicine to therapy, you can get better, and you may even be able to help a friend by telling them what you have learned.
If you feel like you may have depression or even if you just feel a bit off, please, contact someone and reach out. There’s no shame in discussing your mental health!