While some people may experience major depression only once, depression can be chronic and recur time and again. “Depressive episodes can become more severe with each relapse and may become a chronic dysthymia (a persistent mild depression). In some cases, it can even become treatment resistant,” explains clinical psychologist Carey Bremridge.
Hence, learning to spot the signs of an imminent relapse is crucial – look out for these seven:
1. Depressed, or sad?
Normal sadness is usually caused by a specific event like a break-up or the loss of a family member. When you have feelings of sadness or despair every day for more than two weeks, and it interferes with your day-to-day activities, it may be clinical depression.
2. Stressed and irritated
Unusual irritability and anger can be signs of depression. If you’re usually fairly laidback and you notice that you’ve got quite a short fuse of late, you’re bickering with friends and family, losing your temper over small things, or have difficulty handling stress, you may be depressed.
3. Becoming a hermit
There’s a difference between a healthy amount of solitude and withdrawing from social activities because you simply don’t have the energy to be around people and have to make conversation. If you find yourself becoming a bit of a hermit, it might be a sign that you’re depressed.
4. Tired all the time
When you’re depressed everything can seem like a huge effort. If you start feeling too tired or weak to do simple things like getting dressed, taking a shower, or even just getting out of bed, alarm bells should start going off that you might be slipping back into depression.
5. Nothing’s fun anymore
If you find yourself losing interest in hobbies or activities you used to love, there’s a strong possibility that you might be depressed. It’s natural for interest in activities to fluctuate, but if your loss of interest carries on for longer than two weeks, go see your doctor or therapist.
6. A sudden change in your weight
Sudden change in appetite or weight, even while maintaining your diet or exercise routine, may be a sign that you’re depressed. Depression usually flips between two opposite sides of the scale, with people either forgetting to eat or eating too little, or eating too much or binge eating.
7. Aches and pains
Our bodies usually tell us when there’s something amiss, even when it comes to our mental health. If you’re getting constant headaches, stomach aches or pains for no apparent reason, or if a niggle just doesn’t go away despite treatment, it might be a sign that you’re depressed.
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