"The darkness brings me home, rewarding me with peace"

Got the blues, or really depressed?

Warning signs of depression

It might be difficult to notice if someone is depressed. Even more difficult to notice one’s own depression, so here are a few questions for self-check.
a.) About emotions and moods

Do you (often) feel (extremely)

  • sad?
  • empty?
  • numb?
  • irritable?
  • low?
  • miserable?
  • helpless?
  • ashamed?
  • guilty (for no logical reason)?
  • worried (about things which have very little chance to happen)?

b.) About physical symptoms

Do you (often) experience one, or more of the following:

  • Difficulty in concentration?
  • Problems with your memory, not being able to remember everyday things?
  • Sleeping problems: insomnia, sleepless nights—or you tend to sleep much, yet you wake up exhausted?
  • In the morning, is it a hard task for you to get up, even if you have been awake for at least an hour?
  • Swinging level of appetite—sometimes an irresistable craving for certain foods—mostly sweets, snacks or junkfood -, while other times you just don’t feel like eating at all?
  • headache, nausea, dizziness, muscular pains without any somatic reason?
  • chronic fatigue which seems to have no reason—and no amount of walking, fresh air, or exercising can help against it?

c.) About thoughts

Are these thoughts familiar for you? Do you think like this most of the times?

  • Nobody likes me, and they have very good reasons for not liking me
  • I am a bad person, I hurt others, I destroy everything around me
  • It does not worth to try, I would fail anyway
  • No matter how hard I try, things never change
  • It is so useless and worthless to go on.
  • Everything is my fault.
  • I simply don’t care anymore.

d.) About the behaviour

Have you noticed that you recently…

  • …spend more and more time alone, thinking too much, ending up with very negative conclusions?
  • cannot help but constantly think about the most horrible things in the world (for example, uncurable illnesses; natural catastrophes; the everydays of Death Row inmates; brutal violence, crimes and torture)?
  • …stay in bed longer than before?
  • …stopped doing things you used to enjoy?
  • …are more withdrawn than you used to be, and this does not make you feel better?
  • …know that you should make a change in things around yourself, but you do not feel to have the strength to make that change—or feel that you deserve to have it so bad?
  • …intentionally or unwillingly take less care about yourself and your environment (like not having a shower or washing your hair as regularly as you should do; or don’t care about your bedroom/appartment being messy, or you are too tired to do the cleaning)?
  • …unwillingly, or intentionally hurt yourself in direct or indirect ways?
  • …cannot stop thinking about one certain problem, or bad memory, anything that makes you feel sad, insecure or desperate? (No matter how “big” this negative thought is: if you spend enough time considering one negative thought, you will see it desperating enough.)

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Depressed persons have a very negative and critical attitude, mostly towards themselves, but also towards their environment.

How do you see yourself? Can you recognize any, or more of your attitudes in the following:

1.) About yourself:

  • I am a failure.
  • I am stupid.
  • I am boring.
  • I am annoying.
  • I am ugly.
  • I am disgusting.
  • I am pathetic.
  • I am ridiculous.
  • I am hopeless.

2.) About others and your relation to others:

  • No-one likes me, and they have very good reasons for not liking me.
  • Everyone is better than me.
  • There are two categories: there are worthy people, and… there is me.
  • They are meant for this world. I am not.
  • I am an outsider and I always will be.
  • They don’t need me, they are just too kind to tell me to go to the f*cking hell.
  • They laugh at me behind my back.
  • I am unnecessary, it would be a sign of extra attention and respect if they hated me.
  • I over-estimated myself when I thought I was unnecessary: in reality, I am as “unnecessary” as a tapeworm.
  • It is pretty enough to take a look at me to see how pathetic, stupid and worthless I am.
  • Nobody would like me if they learnt what the real me is like.

3.) About the world:

  • This life is unfair.
  • The world is a terrible and cruel place.
  • There is no place for me here.
  • I am not needed in this world.
  • This world is not fit for living.

4.) About the future:

  • I will surely fail.
  • Nothing will change for the better.
  • This world is not fit for living.
  • Everything keeps going worse and worse.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

If you want to know if someone in your environment is depressed, the above list might be useful—let me complete it with a few thoughts.
There are many depressed people who are quite good at hiding their real feelings and real state of mind from others; not all of them give the impression of an apathic or desperate person. However, there are a few warning signs you might notice. A depressed person might smile, while you deep inside feel that this smile is faked; or you cannot explain why you feel so exhausted after meeting him or her; or you notice sudden—or gradual—changes in his/her attitude, activity or interests? Does (s)he often miss social events, classes or does (s)he have problems with going to work? Watch out for signs—a depressed person might not show how badly (s)he needs attention. (Actually, it is very common that a depressed person does not seek any help because this would ruin the rest of his/her self-esteem. When you are very depressed and full of feelings of guilt, shame and “I DO deserve it!”, seeking help seems to be a cheap attempt on gaining more attention; and no-one likes to feel like a cheap attention whore.)

Resources, recommended further reading:

Depression Self-help Guide at Moodjuice (en)

Depression Self-help at (en)