Emotional and Mental Signs of Depression
With women, the most common and most obvious signs of depression tend to be emotional: tearfulness, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, fear, terror, a sense of impending doom that something awful is going to happen, a sense of loss of control.
Mentally, a woman can feel distracted and indecisive. You may be staring at your iPad with your to-do list, unable to decide what needs to be prioritized. Or, you have your grocery list, and you forget it.
Simple things like meal planning can become more difficult. Where do I start? What do I make for supper tonight? I've done it for the last ten, fifteen years of my life. I don't know what we're having tonight, I don't even know where to begin.
Physical symptoms are not unusual, either. I often used to find in family practice that this was more common in women than in men. Multiple visits to the doctor with multiple physical symptoms. It's also common to have an obsessional fear of having an underlying cancer. With multiple investigations, and nothing being found, these symptoms seem to be multiplying and not going away: palpitations, joint pain, unexplained fatigue, exhaustion, and the sense that there must be something wrong. Over time, this may point to a primary underlying emotional disorder.
I felt like a ship smashed against the rocks. I've spoken to many women who are at that point.
Spiritual and Social Symptoms
Other warning signs are spiritual and social with a tendency to lose interest in friends or hobbies. There may be a lack of joy. The effort to go out and meet a friend becomes just too much hassle. The effort to get babysitters to go out with your husband is just too much hassle. This causes social withdrawal and isolation.
Spiritually, personal devotions can suffer. Reading your Bible can become merely looking at the page, reading, and then having no recollection of what you've just read. We all may experience that at times when we're tired, but this is something that continues day after day, week after week. It just does not seem to go away.
It's important to note how long these symptoms persist. Depression is more than just one or two days of stress caused by busyness or exhaustion. If a pattern emerges, and begins to define you, take notice.
There is Hope
These warning signs and symptoms do not mean that it's the end of the road, that you're life is over. I came to the conclusion that my life was over. I felt like a ship smashed against the rocks. I've spoken to many women who are at that point.
But, God in his grace, has taken me out of that through a holistic approach. He has done it for many other women, too. I'm here today by the grace of God. Without him, without professional help, without spiritual help, without emotional help, I wouldn't be here.
And yet, I can look back today and say that season was subjectively a bad experience for me. But, in God's perspective, it was good for me to be afflicted. For every experience like that, there is a purpose and there is hope. Above all, there's an eternal perspective to all of this.
- What I Learned in My Season of Depression (Shona Murray)
- What Is Burnout and Why Is It So Dangerous? (David Murray)
- How Stress Undermines Our Relationships (David Murray)