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The Signs of Depression

Any of these signs familiar?

* Frequent sadness
* Hopelessness
* Less interest than normal in usual activities
* Tearfulness
* Morbid writings
* Wearing clothes with dark colors
* Lack of cleanliness
* Poor hygiene
* Apathetic
* No longer interested in sports
* Isolates self
* Guilt
* Low energy
* No interest to be with friends
* Very sensitive
* Failure difficult to handle (more so than normal)
* More irritated than normal
* Skipping school or work
* Things feel overwhelming
* Physical symptoms such as stomach aches, consistent headaches, etc.
* Loss of appetite
* Desire to run away from it all
* Eating disturbances
* Sleeping less than normal
* Or, sleeping more than normal
* Lower concentration than normal
* Sudden weight gain or loss
* Self-injury
* Drug abuse
* Alcohol abuse
* Suicide talk

Wow, this is a long list. But it is a fairly good one. How many signs or symptoms fit? How long have they been in effect?

We all experience stress in life. We experience periodic disappointments. Some of us have even experienced the loss of a loved one, whether that has come through a break up or through a death.

But depression is not something to mess around with. There are many options, but the most important thing is to seek help from someone you trust.

I remember when I was in college and a friend of mine shared with me a suicide note. I was shocked and felt out of my league. At the recommendation of my father, I called a counselor in the area. To my surprise, the first thing the counselor recommended was that I come in for a counseling appointment.

When I expressed that I wasn't the one depressed, the counselor explained to me that since I was the "contact point" for this person, a lot now would feel like it was on my shoulders. Whether I realized it or not, if the individual hurt themselves, the attending emotions I would experience were greater than I could imagine at that point.

This, in a nutshell, points to the seriousness of when someone has become so depressed that they would consider taking their own life. Suicide is NEVER an effective way to deal with the pressures of life. The people left behind are devastated and the potential of the life lost is destroyed.

Thus, if we are depressed, we need to get help. If someone we know is depressed, we need to help them get help. But we also need to be mindful that the responsibility of being their friend is great and not to be trifled with. We might need to counsel with an expert to understand how to help our friend during this difficult time.

Not always do the symptoms listed above lead to severe choices. But in an effort to make sure they don't, let's make sure we stay apprised of our feelings and/or the feelings of those we care about ... and seek professional help during the process.

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