Google is a great resource.
It can show you the words people are typing in, around any given topic. As I specialise in helping people who are struggling with depression, I thought it worth checking out. Did you know, the words typed into Google more than anything else, when it comes to depression, is: “depression test”?
This leads me to wonder two things: are people reluctant to go to their doctor if they are feeling low, and would rather self diagnose? And, is there some ambiguity around what the symptoms of depression actually are?
If you have been feeling low, and it’s been like that for more than two weeks, it would be good idea to go to your doctor for a possible diagnosis, rather than try and figure it out for yourself. In fact, next weeks article will be about how to approach your doctor if you do suspect you have depression, and some tips for what to say, what to expect, and how to prepare for your appointment so that it feels less daunting to you.
For now though, the following might help you form some idea as to whether you might have depression.
What are the signs that you might have depression?
Over the last two weeks, have you experienced the following – more often than not..?
- Feeling miserable and low within yourself most of the time;
- Waking up in the morning feeling exhausted regardless of how much sleep you’ve had;
- Becoming more and more preoccupied with negative thoughts and ideas about your life, your relationships, your work, and the general world around you;
- Finding it extremely difficult to motivate yourself to do even the simplest of tasks like getting showered, preparing a meal, or walking up and down the stairs;
- Loss of pleasure in the things you used to enjoy or were good at;
- Difficulty in being able to concentrate, and finding it hard to recall simple words that you would usually know;
- A change in appetite or your digestion being affected, maybe you are eating less than usual or more than usual;
- Perhaps feelings or thoughts about suicide or not wanting to be around anymore.
If you have been experiencing some or all of these symptoms over the last two weeks (or longer), then you most likely do have depression. If, having read this, you’re now thinking “oh no, that’s me”, please know that you are not alone. Not at all. There are 350million people around the world who are struggling with depression; but now that you suspect you might be experiencing it, this is where it is time for you to take action.
In many ways, depression is just a label, but nevertheless it is a word used, to signal that something is not right, and because of that you do need to ask for some help.
What you can do:
- First make an appointment with your doctor, and speak to them about how you’ve been feeling. You can begin the conversation with “I suspect I have depression, and so that’s why I’ve booked an appointment with you”
- Think about what treatment you’d like to go with. Your doctor may suggest medication or a course of talking therapy, or both. You don’t have to decide anything straight away – you can think about it, and do what feels right for you. Sometimes people feel a sense of relief just knowing what it is.
- As I often do say, a depressed brain is an incredibly stressed brain, and needs some help in calming down so that you can begin to think straight and make some decisions about your treatment. If you sign up here, you can get access to my free Guided Relaxation audio download which will help you get a bit of breathing space, so you can think more clearly about what the next steps are.
Sometimes it helps to know that depression is just a sign that stress and worry has been building up for too long, or that something in your life is out of whack – and you need to take action. When you start taking regular and consistent action with the right support, then the symptoms of depression will begin to calm down.
It won’t always be like this.
Sarah Swanton is the Founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur, which is all about helping business owners and entrepreneurs successfully navigate their way through the ‘inner journey’ of being self employed, so they can do their best work with clients, and build a business that supports them, not exhausts them! Click here to get access to your free Mindset Toolkit for Entrepreneurs which includes the self hypnosis audio ‘Switch Off & Relax’ as well as a copy of the Burnout Antidote Framework