Are you depressed? Questions to ask yourself will be discussed here. Depression is not an unusual word for the world as there are a lot of people who are suffering from this illness. Famous Hollywood stars like Amy Winehouse and Robin Williams took their own life because of this illness and the most recent incident is the lead singer of Linkin Park who had ended his life while fighting with this illness. I have seen a lot of patients who are suffering from this illness because they failed to get early treatment. This is a very serious illness which starts small but it gets very big.
Eventually, you might not have control of your own self anymore. Depression is actually categorised as a mood disorder. Mood disorders are psychiatric disorders in which there is the presence of an emotional disturbance. The patient can be too happy (also called mania) or too sad (also called depression). So, are you depressed? Questions to ask yourself include the following:
1. Have You Ever Felt so down, Miserable and Unable to Feel Happy for a Period of Two Weeks or More?
The first thing to ask yourself is how have you been feeling? If you are saying that you are unable to be happy, how long has it been like that? It is normal to be sad because someone broke your heart or you didn’t get good grades. That is a normal kind of sadness. But it is not normal to experience pervasive sadness for more than two weeks. Is the sadness the same throughout the day or does it keep changing? Because sadness in depression can be varied. You can be experiencing pervasive sadness in the morning and be normal in the evening and become sad again at night. This is called depression with diurnal variation. So it is very important for you to know if you are experiencing a normal kind of sadness or an unusual kind of sadness.
2. Have You Lost Interest in All Your Hobbies and Pleasurable Activities for a Period of Two Weeks or More?
You can start by asking yourself “what are your usual hobbies”? For example, you really love playing basketball and you normally spend 3 hours playing with your friends every day. It will become unusual if suddenly you don’t feel like playing anymore and you totally have lost interest in the game. To make things more specific with this illness, you can ask yourself “was there any change in sexual activities when you lose interest in your hobbies”. Lost interest in sexual activities is characteristic of depressive symptoms. To sum up everything, this symptom is called anhedonia or in other word loss of interest in a previously pleasurable activity, including sex.
3. Is There Any Change in Your Sleep Pattern?
You can be having difficulty in getting to sleep (insomnia) or inability to stay awake (hypersomnia). But the most characteristic of depression is early morning awakening.
4. Is There Any Change in Your Appetite?
Appetite changes can be either increased or decreased.
5. Do You Feel Unusual Tiredness, Fatigue, Lethargy, Lack of Motivation and Drive to do a Task?
Most of the time you will only feel like lying down and will have difficulty in initiating something. Even if you have important work that you want to get done, you will have difficulty in getting started. You will always feel like you don’t have energy and you are too tired for doing anything. In other words, this is called anergia.
6. Do You Feel Restless and Irritable Which Makes You Lose Your Temper?
You normally feel disturbed by something trivial like noises and sounds that you normally hear. For example like, sounds of people laughing or ringing of a telephone. You often lose your temper because you are feeling irritable and agitated.
7. Do You Avoid Meeting Others and Prefer to Be Alone?
Previously, you enjoyed going to an event and meeting up with others but suddenly you dislike all of that. You'd rather be alone than to encounter people and start to get irritable and explode with anger. This also means you are having social withdrawal.
8. Is There Any Difficulty in Concentrating or Focusing on a Task?
This is also called concentration impairment. A person with depression will have difficulty in concentrating on doing something. You can also ask yourself with this question “are you able to read a book or watch a TV program with ease”? With depression, a person won’t be able to do these tasks as their concentration is impaired.
9. Are You Having Problems with Your Memory?
A person might have difficulty in remembering something clearly. They usually will say they don’t know or they did not remember it. Or they will just say they are not sure.
10. Do You Have Thoughts That You Are Worthless, Helpless, and Hopeless?
Worthless (low self-esteem), helpless and hopeless are depressive thoughts. You will also feel like you are a burden to others and disliked by all the people around you. You are feeling like no one can help you (helpless) and there is no future for you (hopeless). You might also have a feeling of guilt where you will feel like you have committed a sin and have to be punished. This is also called delusions of sin/guilt. Delusion is seen in depression with psychotic features, which is one of the variations in depression.
11. Do You Have the Thought That Life is Not Worth Living and It is Better to Be Dead?
In depression, you will have a recurrent suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans, suicidal attempts or death wish. In the suicidal plan, you will have the thought of how you are going to end your life. You will also have the experienced to end your life but fail which is also called suicidal attempts. These thoughts will keep playing and repeating in your head (recurrence).
12. Do You Believe That the World is Coming to an End?
This is a delusion called the delusions of nihilism which is a psychotic feature seen in a variation of depression. Other than the world is coming to an end, in a delusion of nihilism a person will also believe that they have disappeared from this world and no longer exist or their body parts are rotting away.
13. Do You Have Previous Symptom of Mania?
Mania is an illness in which a person has an unusual happiness. If there is previous symptom of mania followed by symptoms of depression, a person is diagnosed to have bipolar depression. A person can have recurrent episodes of mania and depression. In other words, they will have excessive happiness at one time and at other times they will have excessive sadness.
14. Post-partum Depression?
Post-partum depression is another type of depression which happens within 6 weeks after childbirth. It has the same symptoms mentioned above. It is very important to identify this type of depression because there will be a risk of neglect of the baby, bonding failure, suicide and risk of killing their own baby.