Many students are prone to feeling down from time to time, and this is normal. What makes depression distinct from normal emotions is that its symptoms are consistent and long-lasting, often for weeks and months at a time. It is also important to note that even if you are unsure about whether what you are experiencing is clinical depression or not, going to see a counselor is your best bet if you have symptoms that concern you or for which you want help.
These are all symptoms of depression:
- Consistently feeling sad, guilty, anxious, or hopeless. This could mean feeling bad about yourself or your future, and blaming or hating yourself.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness or emotionlessness. This can seem counterintuitive – we typically think of depression only as sadness. However, many people can experience it as a state in which they just don’t really feel their normal range of emotions, from happiness to excitement to sadness. Some refer to it as a “fog.”
- Loss of interest. People with depression might not feel interested in their daily lives, like classes, sports, or extracurricular activities. Hobbies that they’ve always enjoyed are no longer worthwhile.
- Feelings of near-constant irritability, anger, or restlessness. This is another different manifestation of depression from the archetypical, but can still be a symptom.
- Lack of energy and disrupted sleep patterns. Those suffering from depression may feel tired regardless of how much they sleep. Depression can also cause someone to sleep much more than normal, or, conversely, cause insomnia and make sleep difficult.
- Disrupted eating patterns. Depression can cause either overeating or loss of appetite, depending on the person.
- Chronic aches, pains, or digestive problems that don’t seem to get better with time or treatment.
Depression can affect everyone differently. Someone may experience all of the symptoms or just certain ones, and each symptom in a different way. If any of these symptoms are troubling you, talking to a Sykes Counselor or trusted adult on campus is likely the best step in helping yourself to recover. Whether or not you have depression, everyone deserves a happy and healthy life.
-by Dear Sam, student club at Andover