It may not be sadness. Depression can come out of nowhere. Know the signs.

About 650,000 Australians will have depression in a twelve-month period according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, whilst 7% of the US population will also experience depression within that period of time. It is one of the most common mental illnesses, yet some people  are not aware that they might have it, and aren’t seeking the treatment that they need. Below is a list of the more subtle symptoms of depression and whilst they range in their severity, most symptoms need to be present every day.

Here is a list of some of the less widely known symptoms and signs of depression.



1. Feelings of emptiness

Most people think that depression is characterised by overwhelming sadness. Whilst this is certainly a symptom of depression, feelings of emptiness where nothing seems to fuel your fire can be a symptom of depression.

If you are feeling empty, despondent, numb or that you don’t really care for much – don’t ignore it. Most wrongly assume that the only feelings associated with depression are those of sadness. Feeling empty, instead of sad, can still be a symptom of depression, and a sign that you should not ignore.

2. Weight change

There are two key things you can look out for here. A change in appetite or an unexplained change in body weight of more than 5% in a month.

It may also be a subtle change in appetite. Perhaps you may notice that foods you once use to love the taste of, and use to enjoy eating, you can no longer stomach. Weight and appetite changes can be caused by many things, but it is an established symptom of depression, and could be something you need to address.

3. Sleep difficulties

We all suffer a sleepless night here and there. Insomnia, persistent difficulties in falling asleep, interrupted sleep and constantly feeling tired, can be signs of depression.

On the flip side, excessive sleeping, needing constant naps throughout the day, yet still never feeling rested, are all symptoms that may need to be addressed. We all know what our normal sleeping routines are and any significant changes in sleeping habits should be discussed with your GP.

4. Feeling guilty

Guilt acts like a moral compass to let us know when we have done the wrong thing. Excessive guilt and accompanying feelings of blame and shame can deplete our energy and self-worth.

An unhealthy preoccupation with past actions, from that time you stole your sister’s lunch to losing your job, and constantly feeling guilty and reliving those painful memories, may lead to feelings of worthlessness and depression.

5. Inability to make a decision

We may not be aware of it but we all make hundreds of decisions each day. People with depression can struggle with making decisions. It can be due to a struggle with motivation, and constantly doubting themselves.

If you find yourself avoiding making decisions, doubting the decisions you’ve made or a constant inability to make decisions, it may stem from a mood disorder.

6. Inability to concentrate

A diminished ability to think or concentrate, or a constant feeling of being in a brain fog, can be a sign that you may have depression. People with depression often struggle to focus on even simple tasks.

Concentration problems can stem from mood disorders. If you find your productivity is decreasing, or projects are being left unfinished, understand this may be a symptom of depression and something you can seek treatment for.

The signs of depression, the symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe. This is a treatable illness and help is available for you. 

How to get help

If you believe you have depression, get help and speak to your GP right away. Know that it is a treatable illness and there are many options and avenues of support for you. In addition to medical advice and traditional therapy, or a combination of the two, sometimes it can be helpful and practical to seek help and support online. At Helping Minds Online there are a number of affordable and convenient support options that can help you on your journey.

Whatever treatment option you decide, know that it can be treated and help is available to you. 

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