What's difficult about dealing with depression is that it can manifest itself in a number of different ways. For some people, depression is merely a short bout of sadness that resolves on its own. But for others, it's a long running presence that makes them feel ineffective, as well as hopeless. Some of the more common symptoms of depression include:
Becoming irritated for no reason
Anger and frustration
Loss of interest in favorite activities
Change in eating habits
Change in sleeping habits
Thoughts about suicide
Diagnosing depression is tricky because it requires that you have these symptoms for extended periods of time – normally at least two weeks continuously. And while some people can easily identify their down times, others might not recognize symptoms like anger as being consistent with depression.
The Stages of Depression
While the American Psychological Association doesn't define clear stages of depression, there does seem to be a pattern among the way that depression progresses among people. Here are the basic issues that may lead to depression in many people:
Feeling frustrated or overwhelmed – When life begins to become burdensome, you can begin to have troubles dealing with the emotions that come along with this anxiety.
Sense of sadness at the way things are – Feeling like everything is out of control, you begin to feel sad and despondent.
Loss of interest in things you enjoy – You begin to isolate yourself from others and from the things you love to do.
Changes in eating and sleeping – You might begin to change the way you eat and the way you sleep as a way to cope with the burdens of your feelings.
Feelings of hopelessness – As you continue to feel bad, you might begin to see things as hopeless and beyond your control. You begin to not care about anything. You might stop bathing or handling even mundane tasks.
Feelings of death and suicide – Those who feel like they are completely alone and have no one to turn to will often begin to have thoughts of death and finally 'ending' it all.
When You Should Seek Help
Ideally, depression is best treated when you identify the symptoms early and begin treatment in the beginning stages. When you first notice that you are having troubles being happy, you might want to start talking to someone about how to handle these emotions.
However, if you don't get help at that point, you will want to certainly begin to seek help if you have any feelings about suicide. This is the lowest point that you can hit and while you might not feel you are serious about following through on the feeling, it warrant some additional counseling and guidance. When you may become harmful to yourself or even to someone else, you will need to get professional help.