Depression can become a huge problem in your life, but many people may not actually recognize the signs of depression or symptoms; instead, they'll just assume that they're sad.
But if you're waking up depressed, or feeling depressed for no reason every day, then you may not just be sad or going through a "phase."
Wondering "Why am I depressed?" all the time might make you feel like you're going crazy or that you'll never feel better again — but there's a way to get through to the underlying issues that cause your depression and anxiety and be happy again.
So was it that kind of morning for you? Did you wake up feeling depressed for no reason again? Is this becoming a pattern, even though your life is going pretty great?
Are you happy with your relationships, your job, your health, and yet, for some reason you're still feeling depressed?
If the answer is yes, then there are a few things that you can do to try and figure out what is going on. Getting past depression is important and knowing the cause is an important part of doing so.
Here are 5 signs of depression you need to pay attention to and what to do when you're depressed so you can start being happy again:
1. Take note of the view out your window.
Believe it or not, the time of year can greatly affect your moods, maybe even contribute to why you wake up feeling depressed for no reason.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder caused by the change of seasons. Some people get depressed because of the reduced daylight hours. Some people because of the temperature changes. Everyone affected by SAD finds themselves feeling depressed without something being wrong.
Fall is a hard time for me because my kids go back to school and the days start getting shorter. If I don’t pay attention, I often find myself deeply depressed, even if everything else is great.
How do you deal with SAD? The most effective way is with a full spectrum lamp. The lamp will help your body tolerate the change in seasons by exposing it to full-spectrum light.
Another thing to ask yourself is if something painful happened to you this same time of year in the past. I know that every year in early June, I get very depressed because it's the anniversary of my mother’s death. Sometimes it creeps up on me and I don’t even know it.
Anticipating anniversaries that might be fraught with emotion is a good way to keep SAD at bay because you can take steps to deal with what might make you depressed.
I make sure I do something that reminds me of my mom before the anniversary of her death, and it has really helped me manage the pain of the loss so it doesn’t bring me down.
2. Get your thyroid and vitamin D levels checked.
Two major causes of depression can be thyroid hormone levels that are off and low vitamin D.
When your thyroid hormone levels are off, a variety of symptoms can arise. One of them is depression.
Vitamin D deficiency is also one of the major causes of depression. Because of the prevalence of sunscreen use and a significant shortage of sunshine during some parts of the year, many Americans don’t get enough sun.
The sun is the only way for a human being to get Vitamin D (other than fortified milk and orange juice) so sun deficiency means a vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D deficiency leads to depression.
Fortunately, in both cases, testing is easy — a simple blood test — and the treatment involves taking a pill.
So, if you're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, call your primary care doctor and get yourself checked right away.
3. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself.
Are you eating well? Getting exercise? Spending time with friends? Taking care of your hygiene?
If not, this could be the cause of your depression.
Taking care of your mental and physical bodies is the key to mental and physical health. If you don’t take care of yourself, but instead live on wine and ice cream, eventually your body is going to react.
A body that isn’t well fed or exercised will start to turn on itself, causing all sorts of debilitating issues. One of those issues is depression.
So, if you find that you're suddenly feeling depressed for no reason, examine how you're taking care of yourself. If you're not doing a good job, try to make a change. You might find your depression lifts if you do.
4. Know about the different kinds of depression.
Diagnostically, are two basic kinds of depression: Situational depression and chemical depression. They have similar symptoms but different causes.
Situational depression is caused by something that happens in your life. When something big happens that makes you sad, like the death of a parent or a divorce or the loss of a job, you can become situationally depressed.
This kind of depression usually has a beginning, caused by a specific event, and an end, and is often treated differently from chemical depression.
Chemical depression is the result of your brain chemistry being off in such a way that leads to depression. You are most often born with chemical depression, but it can also be caused by a traumatic life event.
Chemical depression can happen to you even if your life is going great.
A good way to get a sense of whether or not you are chemically depressed is to ask yourself some questions:
- Are you living with feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness?
- Are you more irritable than usual?
- Have you lost interest in things that used to make you happy?
- Are you not sleeping as well as you used to?
- Have your sleep patterns changed? Are you spending more time in bed?
- Have your eating patterns changed? Have you lost or gained weight?
- Are you more anxious than you used to be?
- Do you struggle with feelings of worthlessness?
- Do you have a hard time focusing?
- Do you think about committing suicide?
- Do you have new physical problems, like headaches or backaches?
If you answered yes to any, or all, of these questions you might be struggling with chemical depression.
5. Reach out for help.
Regardless of what kind of depression you're struggling with, situational or chemical depression, it is important that you reach out for help.
See your primary care doctor right away about your depression. Tell them honestly about your symptoms so they can treat you.
Many people struggle with the embarrassment of depression. They think that they should be able to suck it up and just deal like everybody else.
A significant portion of Americans deal with depression and many of them don’t just suck it up. They either self-medicate with food or alcohol or they get treatment from a professional.
Guess which one is better for you?
If you wake up feeling depressed for no reason again tomorrow, talk to your primary care doctor. Feeling lethargic, unmotivated, sad, and angry can be debilitating and you don’t want it to overtake your life.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore the depression and hope it goes away. The most important thing is not to go it alone. Get some professional help. Depression will get worse the longer it goes untreated so nipping it in the bud is essential.