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 Depression  Holistic-online.com

Diagnosing Depression

Symptoms of Depression - Contd.

Feeling Worthless or Guilty

bulletYour self-esteem hits rock bottom. You feel like you are nothing, and a burden to everyone. You feel that you are the worst person who has ever lived.
bulletYou feel guilty about everything, even about getting depressed.
bulletYou believe that it is your fault that you are sick. You feel that you should be trying harder to overcome your depression.
bulletYou spend a lot of time reflecting on your past missteps. You are convinced that you have ruined your life and the lives of those you love.

In the extreme, some people may get the delusion that they are the worst persons who have ever lived or that they are the ultimate cause of the world's suffering.

Difficulty Concentrating or Making Decisions

bulletYour mind become foggy.
bulletYou can't think straight or get your work done.
bulletYou find it hard to focus on any one task because you are filled with worries and your thoughts keep wandering back to how hopeless everything is.
bulletIt may get to a point that you can't even follow a conversation, or pay attention and watch TV or a movie for an extended period of time.
bulletYou find it very difficult to make any decisions. Even the simple, everyday choices are very hard. For example, you cannot even decide what to wear or what to eat. You vacillate back and forth, unable to move forward.
bulletYou are so afraid to make any decisions that it becomes paralyzing. You shudder at the thought that you have to make a decision. To avoid facing such a situation, you prefer just to lie in bed away from everything else.

Feeling As If Life Is No Longer Worth Living (Suicidal Thoughts)

bulletYou feel hopeless about the future and wish you could avoid living it.
bulletYou wish that you will just simply disappear, not wake up in the morning, or disappear in a fatal accident.
bulletSometimes your thoughts evolve into active plans about how you might take your life. Some people may even begin making preparations for a suicide such as hoarding pills, buying a gun, preparing a will, or writing a suicide note. At the extreme, they may make an attempt on their life.
bulletSome people are so terrified by the suicidal thoughts that they finally seek treatment.

Please note that depression causes powerful cognitive distortions in the victims. This is the reason behind the suicidal thoughts. The victim become convinced that his or her future will bleak as the present. They lose sight of the fact, or don't believe, that almost everyone with depression will eventually get better.

Ironically, the possibility for suicide is better when one is recovering from the depression than when one is trapped within its depths. This is because victims do not have any energy to go ahead and commit suicide when they are highly depressed. They will have a hard time making any decisions. When they get better, they may think that it is better to commit suicide to escape from the hell created by the depression. Some people justify their action thinking that they are a burden to their relatives and hence the right thing to do is to end their life. It is important that if your loved one is suffering from depression you talk to them realistically about his/her condition and assure the person that he/she is not a burden to you.

Source: Drs. Allen Frances and Michael First:  "Your Mental Health," Scribner Press.

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