Sourced with thanks from eatthis.com
These are challenging times that all of us are going through. Our daily routines are invariably tied around hearing/learning/watching about COVID-19 related details and most of it not pleasant. Most of you, given your advancing years are probably cooped up inside your homes with minimal socialisation and external contact waiting for all this to end but unfortunately, the end is not in sight yet. All this can take a toll on your mental well-being and it may be a good to be alert to changes happening to you. And to try and understand if these changes you are seeing are usual/normal or you a bigger problem: depression. In the article below, the author spells out subtle signs to look out for that may indicate bigger problems. Please be aware though that It’s just a checklist for you to keep in mind and not really a diagnostic tool. Team RetyrSmart
Managing mental health in these times. Be alert to subtle signs
Subtle signs you may be depressed
You Give Up on Reaching Out
Right now, it’s hard to stay in contact with friends and family members. Social media, video chats, or text messages feel impersonal or awkward, which can make you want to give up on reaching out for social interactions. But if you’re hopeless about maintaining relationships and feel yourself pulling away, it may be a sign you’re depressed.
Your listless attitude toward socializing may be a sign that depression is creeping in.
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You’re Always Hungry…
Binge eating and the subsequent weight gain may cause depression. But this theory goes both ways: Depression or anxiety may be the culprit for your insatiable appetite and binge-eating sessions.
An anxiety disorder is usually what triggers binge eating. Your uncontrollable appetite may simply be caused by boredom, but it could also be a sign of anxiety or depression.
…Or You’re Never Hungry
On the flip side, a loss in appetite may also be a sign that you’re heading toward depression. If you’ve noticed you’re not hungry and your food intake has decreased, it may mean you’re depressed.
You Just Want to Sleep…
Excessive sleepiness without reason is referred to as hypersomnia. If you’re out of work and stuck in the house, you may feel the need to nap out of boredom or lack of activity. If you have the desire to sleep all day, you may find that affects your mood, which may signify the onset of depression.
…Or You Can’t Sleep
Insomnia is another potential sign of depression. If you toss and turn every night, not only is it a sign that your mental health is in disarray, it may also be contributing to your problem. Insomnia is related to decreased quality of life, social and interpersonal functioning, and workplace performance, and any of these could result in levels of distress or life events that may trigger, maintain, or worsen depression disorder.
You Don’t Find Joy in Your Hobbies
Many are using this time of social distancing to engage in hobbies they love, such as reading, knitting, playing an instrument or exercising. If you’ve given up on the activities you used to find enjoyable because they don’t seem fun anymore, you may need to analyse your mental health status.
If you can’t seem to squeeze an ounce of joy out of finishing a crossword puzzle or eating the perfect chocolate chip cookie, you may be suffering from depression.
If you’ve been stuck at home for a while now, feeling aggrieved by family members or the general situation is normal. But unexplainable and severe irritability that you can’t control may have a deeper meaning.
Unexplained and uncontrollable irritability may not just be a frustrating side effect of social isolation; it may be a symptom of depression.
You Have No Energy
A body at rest tends to stay at rest. If you’re using social distancing as an opportunity to catch up on reality TV shows and eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting, you may find yourself experiencing a lower energy level. However, if your energy has declined for no clear reason and you simply can’t find the motivation to get anything done, it may be a sign of depression.
If you can’t seem to get moving and feel like you have consistent low energy levels, you may need to take a second look at your mental state.
You Feel Hopeless
Social distancing guidelines for the coronavirus are vague, and the timeline is muddy. It’s no wonder you may feel hopeless about the situation from time to time, especially if your children are out of school or you’ve lost your job because of the pandemic. But a consistent feeling of hopelessness may be a sign that you need help to avoid falling into depression.
Hopelessness is a serious symptom of depression because if you let it spiral, it can lead to suicidal thoughts.
You Can’t Focus
Ever feel like you’re thinking in circles? Trying to focus on the task at hand but your mind wanders to past events? If you can’t concentrate occasionally, it’s completely normal. But if you frequently feel like it’s impossible to focus, it may be a sign that you need to examine your mental health.
You’re Obsessed With Perfection
If the threat of coronavirus has you scrubbing your kitchen counter until it shines every day, it’s understandable. But if you’ve suddenly developed an obsession with perfection that’s affecting your moods, there may be a deeper issue, and it could be a sign of depression.
Your perfectionism and disappointment can make you spiral into a cycle of depression. If you’ve noticed this obsession with perfection, you may need to seek help from a counsellor.
You Constantly Criticize Yourself
A little self-deprecation is healthy, but if you’re feeling like everything you do is wrong, it’s not only unhealthy, it may be a sign of depression. A study published in Omega found, “Self-criticism was positively associated with depressive symptoms and negatively associated with self-compassion.”
You Lash Out at Loved Ones
If you’re social distancing with family members, you’re probably spending more time together than ever before. You’re bound to get annoyed with each other and need some space. But if you’re having mood swings and lashing out at those you love, your mental state may be in jeopardy.
It’s understandable if your situation is frustrating right now. But if you’re experiencing uncontrollable outbursts of anger aimed at your loved ones, it may be a sign you’re dealing with depression.
You Feel Anxious
Our thoughts and attention are focused on COVID-19, which has proven to be unpredictable and deadly. It’s only normal to feel a bit anxious right now. However, anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. If you’re having constant feelings of anxiety, you may need to seek counselling, especially during this tough time.
You Think About Death A Lot
Thinking about death or contemplating suicide is a definite sign you need to seek counselling, as it may be a symptom of depression. Whether you think you have depression or not, it’s important to get help if you find yourself thinking about harming yourself.
You Can’t Control Your Emotions
Mood swings are a part of life, especially when we’re dealing with an unpredictable virus that’s changed our daily lives. But if you feel like you can’t control your emotions most of the time, you may be dealing with depression.
If your emotions are all over the place, talk to a counsellor as soon as possible.
You Just Want to Be Alone
If you’re on your third game of Monopoly with the family and you desperately want to curl up in bed and read a book in silence for a few minutes, it’s totally understandable. All this time at home with your family can be overwhelming, and sometimes a few moments by yourself will help you recharge. But if you feel yourself disengaging from people you love and seeking solitude in an unhealthy way, it may be a sign of a mental health issue.
Alone time is precious right now, but if you find yourself purposely isolating yourself, you may be clinically depressed.
If you can relate to any of the signs above, it may be time to focus on your mental health—reach out for virtual help from a counsellor.