To answer this we must first assess your symptoms of depression. Everyone presents differently. You could know 10 people with depression and they could all experience it differently so it’s important to understand your symptoms and how you experience them. Here are the symptoms of depression. Write down which symptoms you experience.
· Poor sleep- either sleep too much or too little or a combination of both
· A loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. The key here is a loss of interest... not whether you’re still engaging in them or not.
· Feeling bad about yourself or guilty
· A lack of energy Loss of concentration
· A poor appetite- eating too much or too little or a combination of both
· Feeling like you’re just going through the motions of the day, like you’re on autopilot and not too engaged in or emotionally present. I equate this to sometimes when I’m driving I’m on autopilot and I automatically start driving to work when I’m supposed to be going in the opposite direction or even worse when you space out while driving and then when you become present again you wonder where the hell you’ve been for the last few minutes. Scary but it happens.
· And the last symptom is feeling like you would be better of dead. This could be in the form of actively thinking about hurting or killing yourself or wishing it would just happen naturally or by some other means.
If you have some of these symptoms you could have depression. I say "could" because there’s quite a lot more that goes into diagnosing depression. But our purpose here is not to diagnose depression because that must be done by a mental health professional. Our purpose right now is to identify whether you are experiencing any symptoms that could possibly contribute to depression. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms then you may have a level of depression that should be treated by a mental health professional. Please seek treatment if this applies to you... at least be evaluated and take it from there.
To loosely assess the severity of your symptoms ask yourself how often do these symptoms interfere with your daily activities? If the symptoms interfere one to two days a week, then you’re looking at a mild severity. Three to five days a week would be a moderate level and six to seven days a week would be severe. Make a note of your possible severity level. This helps to really see how these symptoms are impairing your day-to-day life.
Think about if these symptoms weren’t present how much better your life could be and what you could be doing instead. Sometimes we don’t even realize the impact things make on our life and how many sacrifices we make because of it. This is why it’s so important to assess the symptoms and severity with objective eyes. It can help to ask a trusted friend or family member to get their opinion on your functioning and then compare your results with theirs.
For more self-help talks, guided exercises and meditations check out these resources:
Free Spirit's Therapy Homework- https://www.freespiritcoaching.org/therapyhomework
Dr. Traci Moreno on Insight Timer- https://insighttimer.com/DrTraci
Free Spirit's YouTube Channel- https://www.youtube.com/@freespiritcoaching