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depression symptoms

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For those who struggle with on-and-off bouts of depression, recognizing an impending cycle is one of the most important parts of stopping it. Those very early stages of a depressive cycle are just the time when you can still take action to prevent yourself from slipping entirely into a depression. The reason behind this is that, you’re still in a good enough mental state to recognize the transition from happy to depressed. When someone is in the middle of a depressive episode, they often do not realize it, and when we don’t acknowledge a problem, we aren’t going to try to fix it. If you haven’t quite yet slipped into a depression, you still have the distance to see it coming. Keep a journal and make a note of early signs of your depressive episodes. Here are some symptoms to look for.

depression symptoms

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You won’t make solid plans

You refuse to make solid plans with anyone. If someone asks you to do something as simple as grab lunch in a few days, you hesitate to make any promises. Your depressive brain recognizes that you soon may not have enough control over your moods to bring yourself to socialize. Maintaining friendships while depressed is very difficult, but not impossible.

depression symptoms

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You’re cancelling plans

As for standing plans, you are beginning to cancel a lot. Or, you’re simply not showing up, and several days later, sending an excuse. You don’t want to lie the day of, but you also don’t want to say you simply don’t feel like going out. So you ghost your friends, and come up with something later.

depression symptoms

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You’re avoiding phone communication

You don’t feel like texting or talking on the phone. While you usually welcome phone calls from friends, just for the chance to riff and joke around, you now screen them and find them irritating. It’s likely because you know, on a subconscious level, your friends will hear depression in your voice, and that you won’t match their enthusiasm for the phone call.

depression symptoms

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You’re sleeping a lot

You’ve increased the number of hours you sleep each day significantly. You’ve stopped participating in your regular after-work activities, like reading, cooking a nice meal, or working out. You go to bed as soon as you have the chance and sleep as late as you can.

depression symptoms

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The question, “How are you?” frightens you

When someone asks you how you are, you feel as if you could unravel then and there. You worry about people asking you this, so you just direct all questions at them immediately to take attention off yourself.

depression symptoms

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You’re giving up on goals

You’re losing stamina for your goals. While you used to, for example, do one or two things a day to pursue your personal goals, you’ve dropped that number to zero. You just do the bare minimum life asks of you—like going to work and paying your rent—but nothing more.

depression symptoms

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You’re binge-watching brainless shows

Binge-watching shows that let your brain shut off can be a sign of depression. The exact shows are different for different people, but if you’ve stopped watching things that connect you to real life—like the news, documentaries, or live shows—and reverted to watching reruns of old shows, over and over again, you may be depressed.

depression symptoms

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You’re creating false busy work

Often, depressives create fall busy work as a way of avoiding what’s really going on. It’s easier to say you can’t socialize or go after your dreams if you’re too busy painting and re-painting the guest room wall.

depression symptoms

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You’re indecisive

Making a decision is very difficult. Whether it’s where to eat, what movie to see, or just what to do today, you can’t make a decision. That’s because your brain feels nothing about things either way—positive or negative.

depression symptoms

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You lose your appetite

While you generally have a healthy appetite, you’ll skip several meals without noticing it. You may even go an entire day without eating, and not notice it. But you may alternate between not eating for days and binge eating, since food can fill the void, too.

depression symptoms

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You can’t connect your tears to an event

You will break down in tears at seemingly random times. You cannot attach the cry to an event. It isn’t one specific thing that triggered your tears.

depression symptoms

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You’re uncomfortable around cheery people

You are very uncomfortable around people who are positive and high energy. You can sense that, next to them, you appear very odd and your depressive traits stand out too much.

depression symptoms

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You’re increasing substance use

Perhaps you usually have one glass of wine a night, but you’ve increased that to half a bottle. Perhaps you don’t usually drink during the week, and you’ve begun drinking each night, and even looking forward to that drink throughout the day.

depression symptoms

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You hate waking up and want the day to end

The first thought you have when you wake up is something like, “Sh*t” or “I wish I hadn’t woken up.” The second you get out of bed, you just look forward to getting back into it. You don’t look forward to the things that happen between waking up and going back to bed.

depression symptoms

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You often ask, “What’s the point?”

Whether it’s about doing something social or applying yourself to something, you ask, “What’s the point?” Even if you don’t ask it out loud, you hear the question in your subconscious.

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