8 Signs Your Depression Is Getting Worse, Because It's Important To Know What To Look For
Dealing with depression is difficult. It's an incredibly insidious and consuming condition that makes it very hard to realise how deeply it's affecting you while you're in it. Being aware of how severe depression manifests in our behaviour and outlook is an important part of caring for yourself, because it can help you recognise when you need to reach out for professional help. With this in mind, here are some signs that your depression is getting worse. Symptoms can creep up on you and sometimes it means going face to face with your mental health, no matter how little you want to.
When you are depressed, the ability to look at the situation objectively and identify its severity and how you need help can feel near impossible. Depression and anxiety hijack our way of seeing the world. The signs that things are deteriorating are often easier to identify in others than ourselves, and facing up to the reality of our own mental health is never pleasant. Years of dealing with this has also made me realise how good you get at justifying your negative behaviour, and how quickly these patterns normalise, making it even harder to discern when your depression has gone from bad to worse.
1. Extreme Loneliness
We all feel lonely from time to time, but the loneliness that depression causes is perpetuated by how we isolate ourselves during a low mood. It also feels irreversible, with the thought of feeling close to anyone both impossible in the future and a totally foreign concept in general. This type of aching loneliness is a sign that your depression has taken a more serious turn and that it's time to reach out.
Though it can seem contradictory, feeling lonely even when you're around people is another sign of serious depression. The thought of hanging out with the people you used to love spending time with no longer holds any appeal and the more often you turn away from socialising and being around others, the more isolated you become. When we cut ourselves off we no longer need a reason to (even temporarily) pretend things are ok, and we sink further into depression.
3. Self-Care Is A Distant Memory
Eating plain pasta straight from the pot with a plastic spoon you found in the drawer? When your energy is sapped by depression and your outlook is overwhelmingly negative, the first things to slip by the wayside can be personal self-care, and the little household tasks that keep things ticking over. When you feel like this, everything from showering to doing laundry and washing dishes can feel like the last thing on your mind. It happens to everyone sometimes but when it's a regular occurrence, it becomes a sign that your depression is getting worse. It doesn't take long before this piles up and seem insurmountable.
4. You're Not Sleeping
When your mood plummets, your ability to sleep well, regularly, and normal hours is often on its way out as well. Not only does this exacerbate bad moods and depressive episodes, but it also becomes self-perpetuating because sleeping during the day and being awake at night is a hard cycle to break. It takes a toll on our well being, as the Sleep Foundation reports, and becomes a more obvious sign that others that depression is getting more serious.
5. You Sleep All The Time
On the flip side, as WebMD reports, some people find that all they want to do is sleep. This can make carrying out everyday tasks even more difficult, and using your energy on social interactions can quickly wipe you out. If you find your sleep needs continuing to increase, it might be time to seek help.
6. Feeling Numb
While depression instills overwhelmingly negative feelings, it can also make you feel numb, as Psychology Today reports. This is especially true when it comes to the things you used to enjoy doing and the people you used to enjoy hanging out with. Many people find that the hobbies and activities they used to love, and were good at, no longer interest them and their ability to concentrate makes it even harder. This apathy towards life, people around us, and ourselves, is a symptom your depression has gotten worse.
7. You Feel Like A Burden
It is understandable than when you are experiencing bad depression, it becomes difficult to see anything positive about yourself. And if you fail to do that, it's even more complicated to understand why others would want to be around you. If you feel so consumed by depressive moods that you feel like a burden on those around you, it figures that you would isolate yourself further to lessen the impact you think you have on people. But this is a sign that your mental health is deteriorating further, and you should seek help.
8. You Self-Harm
The line can blur between where you only ever thought about self-harming and when you actually started to, and understanding the gravity of that change when you're depressed is not easy. It is however, a more easily identifiable sign to others that you are experiencing serious mental health problems. People self-harm for lots of reasons but it takes being on the other side of an episode to realise that there are better ways to cope.
9. You've Thought About Suicide
Just like with self-harming, the point where suicide went from being a stray thought to a regular thing in your life can be hard to identify. But when we start to see it as a viable option, this is a sure fire crisis point. Feeling like there are no other ways to cope than this is an immensely heavy type of pain, and other symptoms of serious depression like isolation, feeling like a burden, and apathy all feed into it.
Depression is such a suffocating condition; the symptoms bolster each other and it can very quickly feel like you've lost control and don't recognise the person you have become. Recognising the signs that things are getting worse is important because it allows you claw back some control. And though it feels impossible when in the middle of a depressive episode, reaching out will help.