Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Depression: Picking the Early Warning Signs


 A good friend asked me the other day about what the early warning signs were for the onset of depression and I knew straight away that I needed to write a blog post about it.

Just the word depression, still brings tears to my eyes.

Depression; that horrible, dark, life devouring illness that changes your life forever, but, as with my case, not always for the worse.

So, it got me thinking about a blog post that I could write to alert people to the signs and symptoms that they should watch out for, not only in themselves but in the people around them.

I am very aware that everyone experiences different symptoms when it comes to depression, so this post is purely a reflection on my own.

If you are at all worried or concerned about any feelings that you may be experiencing, please seem your doctor asap. Do not be ashamed!!! Everyone needs help from time to time; some physical, some mental.

So...these are the symptoms that I experienced.

I could never 'turn my brain off.' My thoughts were racing through my head faster then a Holden race car on the final lap of a circuit neck to neck with a Ford! Yup, 24/7 my brain would be contemplating things, and 99% of the time, with a negative focus in mind "why did I say that?" "I'm not good enough" etc

 As a result of my racing brain, I had permanent bags under my eyes because I couldn't catch a wink of sleep at night. I would toss and turn, grunt and groan in frustration, and even swallow sleeping tablets in desperation for an hours sleep.

I lost my appetite. This was a huge thing for me, the grazer who is rarely caught without food in my gob. I just lost interest in food and as a result, lost lots of weight.

I started withdrawing from things. It started slowly at first. I wouldn't return a text. Then I wouldn't answer my phone. Then I would bail on dinner dates, netball training and anything that involved leaving the house.

I was incredibly emotional, and not just crying, I was just always on edge, and incredibly moody, irrational and agitated (probably because of the lack of sleep).

I had no motivation for anything at all, infact, most days I couldn't even get out of bed.

I felt like I was carrying a giant lead weight on my shoulders, weighing me down and even making putting one foot in front of the other an impossible task.

I couldn't concentrate on anything. At work I was having to read the same line in an email one hundred times, and through my anxiety, blurry vision and panic, it still wouldn't sink in.

I started throwing sick days, one after another, after another.

I felt hallow and empty, like a shell of my old self.

I felt like I had lost my voice, and second guessed everything that I said.

I felt like everyone could see the pain that I was feeling, just by looking at me. I almost became paranoid about keeping up a happy composure so that people wouldn't know that I was unwell.

I lost interest in sex.

I didn't care about my appearance.

I would spend days in my tracky pants.

Having a shower was 'too much effort'.

I couldn't sit still. I was very fidgety.

I didn't want to be around people, but at the same time I didn't want to be alone, and I certainly didn't trust myself being alone.

I started having suicidal thoughts.

I experienced extreme anxiety; my palms would feel sweaty, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest, my vision would go blurry, I'd feel faint, I couldn't concentrate and I'd feel like I had a massive fever.

As I've said before, these are just the things that I felt, and became aware of.

I know a friend of mine experienced some very different symptoms, like sleeping all day everyday (when I couldn't sleep at all) and weight gain.

I guess the important things to look out for is a change in your or someone else's behaviour, attitude and thinking.

Don't put off seeing a doctor; at the end of the day, it's always better to be safe then sorry and it could save your life.

Have you ever suffered from depression?

What signs and symptoms did you have?

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

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