Most of us believe that we have a fair idea of how to recognise depression in ourselves or others; an outlook on life that is bleak and helpless, a loss of energy and enthusiasm, change in weight and appetite. We picture someone with hunched shoulders, moving listlessly or not wanting to get out of bed. Whilst these are recognisable signs of depression we should also be aware of less obvious signs.
Experiencing ourselves as having a very short fuse or becoming irritated very quickly is a common sign of depression in men but also shows up in women. Becoming angry and frustrated by things that would usually not bother us can be a sign of deeper feelings such as grief, hurt or loss. Teenagers can come across as rude and belligerent, beneath this may be a range of emotions including low self esteem, negative thoughts and helplessness.
Depression can affect cognition. If your concentration has become shaky or you are struggling to make decisions – large or small – it may be worth asking ‘what else is going on with me?’
Striving for perfection. Sometimes people suffering with depression may feel as if their emotions are ‘out of control’ and turn to actions and behaviours that they can control; a house cleaned to perfection, working on a report until it is ‘absolutely right’.