Manic depression is touching my soul
I know what I want but I just don’t know
How to, go about gettin’ it
Feeling sweet feeling,
Drops from my fingers, fingers
Manic depression is catchin’ my soul
-Jimi Hendrix, “Manic Depression”
Everyone has occasion to feel sad, lonely or “depressed”. This is normal, and it has always been a component of human life. However, some of us experience these feelings with great intensity, or for extended periods of time, such that it becomes what is classified as “clinical depression”. When left untreated, clinical depression can be debilitating and, in the worst circumstances, can lead to suicide. In fact, over 10% of those with untreated clinical depression commit suicide. Consequently, recognizing clinical depression symptoms becomes imperative in order to effectuate treatment before the more serious outcomes can manifest themselves. Clinical depression symptoms are wide ranging, and they are often hard to discern unless you are vigilantly looking out for them.
Our sleep patterns are a major telltale when it comes to diagnosing clinical depression. Changes in sleep are among the most salient clinical depression symptoms, and this can be on either end of the spectrum — sudden insomnia or constant fatigue and oversleeping. Changes in sleep habits in either direction can indicate clinical depression, and this is especially true when they occur parallel to other clinical depression symptoms. Daytime fatigue and inability to concentrate are related clinical depression symptoms. Signs like this are often subtle, and they can be written off as just being overworked or otherwise stressed. Irritability and restlessness also constitute depression signs and symptoms, and they likewise are often mistakenly attributed to things other than clinical depression.
A sudden change in outlook can also be one of the signs of clinical depression. This most often takes the form of overwhelming pessimism, feelings of hopelessness, pangs of guilt and constant restlessness and/or anxiety. Again, these reactions are entirely appropriate at certain junctures of life — but a healthy individual will quickly recover from them whereas those suffering from clinical depression will not. Duration of the apparent clinical depression symptoms is most often what differentiates normal cycles of life from a depression diagnosis. Loss of interest in work, hobbies or even sex are also clinical depression symptoms. Changes in eating patterns, which can include either sudden weight gain or alternatively weight loss, can occur within the context of clinical depression.
The most concerning clinical depression symptoms surround fixation with death or other morbid events. Constant discussion of death — especially within the context of an escape — is a very serious sign of depression which warrants immediate treatment. Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. which result in desiring an escape even as drastic as death, are prototypical clinical depression symptoms — and those experiencing them should take the potentially life-saving step of seeking treatment from a mental health professional.