Life can be overbearing sometimes. It can take a toll even on the most resilient of us. When it pushes you to a state of persistent sadness and loss of interest in living, it may be time to work on your mental health.
Depression is not an occasional sadness. Everyone becomes gloomy sometimes. It is part of being human. The sadness in this mood disorder lingers despite your best efforts to dispel it. It infiltrates your feelings, thoughts, and behavior and impedes your ability to function.
Psychological Symptoms of Depression
Loss of hope is a symptom of severe depression. It is the belief that your luck has run out. Persistent hopelessness overwhelms your zeal to make something out of life because there is no satisfaction out of accomplishments. It makes your dreams and aspirations meaningless.
Rumination and Passive Brooding
Rumination is re-cyclic negative thinking compounded with a distorted depiction of life events. It is pessimism enshrined in self-criticism, and it aggravates the depressive mood. It also interferes with your rationality leading to maladaptive coping behaviors.
Brooding – one of the maladaptive coping behaviors – is passive rumination. It is self-criticism based on an unattainable standard – the war of real versus ideal. You beat yourself down by how far you fall short of achieving the ideal.
On the flip side, the healthier form of thinking is reflection. Reflection takes an inward approach – intentional self-evaluation to understand distressing thoughts. Self-reflection paves the way for self-actualization, rational thinking, and problem-solving.
Constantly regurgitating negative thoughts creates a mountain out of a molehill. It intensifies your feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Instead of finding solutions, the habit pushes you toward self-sabotage.
Depression is much more than feeling the blues. It mangles how you perceive yourself. Since the depressive mood lingers towards pessimism, your perception of self also takes that trajectory. Mulling over the ideal only magnifies self-loathing.
Low self-image increases your susceptibility to risky behavior, self-harm, and self-absorption. Symptoms of depression co-occur with signs of low self-esteem. Both conditions exacerbate the manifestations of the other.
Restlessness is a symptom associated with a high-energy type of depression which is sometimes called agitated depression. Instead of extreme exhaustion and slowness, agitated depression presents high-energy symptoms. Increased anger and emotional outbursts over small stimuli are common disorder manifestations. You also can become inattentive, irritable, have racing thoughts, and talk incessantly.
Motivation is crucial in recruiting cognitive control, which influences your task-performing ability. Cognitive control enables you to pay attention, and establish, maintain and execute goals. Motivation enhances goal expectancy. It is the drive that keeps you in goal pursuit despite the obstacles and intricacies of the tasks.
However, depression-induced pessimism is a great hindrance to motivation. In a depressive state, neurological alterations in the brain repress your ability to inhibit negative thinking.
As a result, you must work even harder to exercise cognitive control like a non-depressed individual.
Eventually, this overcompensation of cognitive control leads to mental lethargy. The negative inclined mindset also pushes you toward premature goal disengagement and enhances your inability to re-engage.
Aversive indecision, not to be confused with exercising caution, is a maladaptive trait of depression. The slack in decision-making is triggered by negative expectations, worry, and anxiety. Since you cannot tolerate uncertainty, you either avoid making decisions or take your time in making decisions.
Anxiety both instigates and worsens depression. Rumination, low self-worth, pessimism, and intrusive memories cause and sustain anxiety. The anxious state is highly incapacitating. Symptoms of anxiety include heart palpitations, high blood pressure, trembling, and hyperventilation. Anxiety also increases restlessness and hopelessness.
Depression intensifies a person’s wish to die. It reduces life to endless days of emptiness. The urge to end your life comes from the absence of future aspirations and dissatisfaction with the present. Aside from suicidal thoughts, you may also entertain thoughts of self-harm.
Physical Symptoms of Depression
Physical signs of depression go hand in hand with psychological symptoms.
- Frequent headaches – obsessive negative thinking or brain hyperactivity cognitive compensation due to increased pessimism can cause headaches.
- Suicide planning and attempt – entertaining suicidal thoughts increase the likelihood of turning them into action.
- Insomnia – depression, and symptoms of the disorder such as anxiety and restlessness disrupt hormones and neurotransmitters involved in the sleep-wake cycle. The interference affects your sleep.
- Exhaustion – It may be caused by multiple outcomes that sustain the depressive mood. For instance, suppressed appetite, restlessness, and mental hyperactivity due to distress contribute to lethargy.
- Digestion disruption – Depression and anxiety tamper with nerves, neurotransmitters, and hormones that stimulate the gut. For instance, the disorders increase the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach resulting in hyperacidity. Furthermore, the disorders affect absorption in the intestines causing diarrhea, constipation, or both conditions simultaneously. Depression and anxiety induce nausea and either suppress or stimulates appetite which leads to weight gain or loss.
- Low libido – depression inhibits hormones responsible for your increasing your sex drive.
- Menstruation – The hormones also disrupt the menstrual cycle. Symptoms include irregularities, pain, and increased or decreased menstrual flow.
While misery loves company, depression tends to thrive in the absence of people. Socializing becomes an uphill task. Withdrawal tendencies stem from false perceptions of threats from others and feelings of worthlessness.
Increased Risky Behavior
Coping behaviors include substance abuse to numb the pain, forget, or avoid dealing with stressors. It also entails promiscuity and living on the edge – by indulging in activities that can physically harm.
Absconding Work and Hobbies
Lack of motivation, pessimism, and emotional dysregulation diminish your zeal for living. Even activities of daily living become a daunting task – let alone work responsibilities and hobbies. Depression takes away the joys in the little things that make life worth living.
If you have these symptoms do not go through them alone. Aside from using self-help solutions to nurse your mental health, reach out to a counseling psychologist. Depression left unchecked can cause debilitating harm to your mental and physical health.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.