Ernest Hemingway is one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. He is also a manic-depressive, his biography gave doctors the best insight on the mind of a depressed individual.
A Nobel prize and Pulitzer winner, Hemingway is one of the most successful people in modern literature. It’s hard to imagine that a person like that suffers from depression. Symptoms of depression and anxiety are sometimes so subtle that even public figures such as Hemingway and Robin Williams fall victims to it.
Signs and symptoms of depression
There are overt symptoms of depressions. A list compiled by helpguide.org shows observable symptoms of depression.
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities
- Drastic weight change
- Sleeping disorders
- Loss of energy
- Reckless behavior
- Concentration problems
- Unexplained aches and pains
These are signs of a classic depression, but for a person like Robin Williams, a world-renowned professional comedian, and actor, it is easy to hide their true feelings.
Most people may not have his level of talent, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hide their feelings from people who aren’t paying attention.
What are the physical and mental symptoms of depression
Physical symptoms of depression such as weight loss (or gain) or self-harm are not easy to hide. Assuming the person is not trying to hide their depression, (most people do) physical manifestations and other changes such as lack of hygiene are easy to spot.
The problem is when interpreting those symptoms, it is discovered, such symptoms are manic-depressive, and not just plain laziness or slob.
Mental symptoms such as hopelessness, helplessness, and the lack of motivation are not apparent. They can be working as burger flippers or corporate slaves, and it’s fairly normal that they are not motivated about their lives and future prospects.
Depression could be triggered by a traumatic event, but true clinical depression is active all the time. It eats the soul of its victim like a demon. In fact, there are cultures that diagnose clinical depression as demonic possession.
The most important factor in determining and diagnosing depression is to pay attention and observe. Most manic-depressives do not know they are suffering from depression while doing their best to hide it. A lot of people dismiss it as nothing, but manifestations of an introvert personality.
If the person was an introvert prior to the depression, then the changes are even harder to spot.
It’s also easy to determine if a person is suffering from depression once you talk to them. But, the problem is getting them to talk in the first place.
Symptoms of depression are hard to spot and easy to hide.
Not because they are ashamed, they simply don’t care anymore and don’t want to be bothered. Their mindset has changed and will view people trying to help them as either a fake or just a bother.
Extending a helping hand is viewed as superficial attempts to get on their good side.
Pay attention and observe, do not confront them directly.
Any attempts to make a connection should be subtle and be ready to back off once they are irritable. Consult a professional and discuss your observations with them.
Symptoms of depression and gender differences
Most depressions are undetected until the person attempts suicide. Depression symptoms and patterns are also close to people who are simply introvert or just angry at the world for being losers.
Without a traumatic trigger that results in a drastic change in personality, symptoms of depression are mostly disregarded as actions of a sulky individual. Especially, if that person is in their teens.
There are also slight gender differences when people are depressed.
Symptoms of depression in men, for example, can manifest as an aggressive personality. Women are also twice as likely to be depressed than men. The reason for this is not the emotional weakness in women, it’s because men are more likely to develop alternative disorders such as substance abuse, violent tendencies, and other antisocial behavior.
Symptoms of depression in women are more classical as listed above. For men, the development of alternative disorders with its own manifestations and symptoms become more apparent and diagnosed as a separate problem.
Depressed women develop anxiety issues as opposed to alternative disorders when compared to men. Their anxiety disorder manifests physically such as the development of phobias, palpitations, high blood pressure, nausea, and muscle pains.
Anxiety disorder and depression are closely related, especially in women. Then again, alternative disorders, such as substance abuse, are also tied to depression.
Symptoms of depression can easily be hidden and conscious effort made by individuals to hide it will result in those alternate disorders. These disorders have their own symptoms and are easily diagnosed.
Consult a professional to help a person with manic-depression. Depressive individuals are at higher risks of being suicidal and when it comes to that point, it’s too late. Make sure to contact them privately before referring to the affected person directly. A lot of good counselors are willing to do home visits for depression and suicide survivors (they just charge more).
Depressive individuals are defensive and angry.
Use your best judgment on how to open up the possibility of treatment.
Symptoms of depression are incomprehensible
Symptoms of depression are difficult to interpret by non-professionals because unlike other mental illness, they are subtle and part of normal behavior. Everyone gets sad, angry, irritable, or feel helpless because of the circumstances in their lives or at that time of the month.
The moment it steps into alternate disorders, there are now two mental problems to resolve and even professionals may fail to diagnose the underlying depression that triggered it all. If the patient is receptive to the treatment and cooperative, full recovery is possible. But, if they are not, doctors may recommend institutionalization to protect against suicide.
Symptoms of depression are like spider webs. They easily match the background waiting for their prey.
They camouflage themselves as part of life’s ups and downs, that it’s easy to take them for granted. The problem is the alternative. if we wait for something drastic, such as suicide, to happen before we take action. It may already be too late.