5 Signs You’re Dealing with Clinical Depression (And What You Can Do About It)

Most people find it hard to tell clinical depression from usual feelings of sadness. Before you tell someone who’s suffering from depression to “just be happier” or “wala ‘yan, kaya mo ‘yan” and make matters worse, here are five clear signs of clinical depression. Recognize them early and save lives—you may even save your own.

Clinically depressed people can’t just will themselves to be happy. No amount of retail therapy, drinking sessions, and spontaneous travel can make things better for them. There is a cure though, either in the form of prescription drugs, therapy, or both. Early detection is key, and these five signs will help you recognize depression in yourself and in others.

Sign # 1: You lose interest in things you used to enjoy.

Sure, Walking Dead is not the can’t-miss-TV show it used to be now, but there might be a problem if NONE of your go-to shows makes you happy anymore. Not Game of Thrones. Not Love in the Moonlight. Not even Encantadia. If you’re losing interest in the things you used to love—sports, hanging out with friends, reading a good book—you haven’t just outgrown them, you may actually be depressed.

What you can do about it: Try not to isolate yourself and reach out more to friends. You may also find a support group who help people go through the same things you’re going through.

Sign # 2: You have irregular sleeping patterns.

You may be oversleeping, or not sleeping at all. Depression causes a chemical imbalance in your body that makes you either always tired, which makes you oversleep, or overly anxious, which causes insomnia. A prolonged and abnormal change in your sleeping habit may signal the onset of depression. If you experience this, and several other things on this list, you may be dealing with depression.

What you can do about it: Slow down, prepare your body for sleep. When it does come, don’t set the alarm, just sleep until your body allows you to. If it doesn’t get any better, it may be time to consult with an expert.

Sign # 3: You either eat too much or eat too little.

Depressed people either eat a lot and gain so much weight in a short span of time, or eat so little, they end up looking emaciated and unwell. Again the key here is the suddenness of the change, and that it is mostly unplanned.

What you can do about it: Eat healthy, more fruits and vegetables and less or almost no processed meat, and watch your food portions. It might also help if you try to make eating fun, as in eat out with friends, or try cooking.

Sign # 4: You can’t concentrate.

You may be thinking, in this age of endless distractions, who doesn’t find it hard to concentrate? True, to some extent, but it’s one thing to check out a couple of YouTube videos in between working on a project due tomorrow to de-stress, and quite another to spend hours watching cat videos and not being able to meet your deadline at all. If your inability to concentrate is getting in the way of you doing your day-to-day tasks, and it happens pretty regularly, you may need to get some help.

What you can do about it: You can write on a journal and/or make lists of day-to-day tasks to make things more organized, but if things don’t get better, don’t hesitate and consult with a doctor.