Depression comes in all forms, from high and low functioning depression, to mild, moderate, and severe. You might have situational depression, triggers, or chronic depression where it comes out of nowhere. One thing that is the same for everyone is that they go through periods where their own depression is at a heightened level, known as a depressive episode.
It is important to learn the early warning signs of one of these episodes. You can then fully prepare for it.
Everyone is different
The first really important thing to understand is that your early warning signs of a depressive episode might be completely different from someone else. Everyone’s mental illnesses and level of depression are going to be different. So, the following list is a good guide. But the best thing you can do is keep a journal of your triggers and different things you experience. You can then keep track of the common trends.
1. You feel hopeless and helpless
This can be something you experience almost constantly. Or if you are like many people, it is more of a sign of a major depressive episode coming on. Feeling hopeless and helpless is something a lot of depression sufferers experience. It can make it hard to be motivated to do anything. This outlook on yourself and life in general also puts you at a higher risk for self-harm. So you should definitely talk to someone when you start feeling like this.
2. You have mood and anger issues for no apparent reason
Sometimes people who are suddenly in a bad mood or have a lot of anger and irritability confuse it with PMS, simple mood swings for other reasons, or even lack of sleep. While this can also contribute it, you might find that this is actually one of your early warning signs of a depressive episode. Especially when it isn’t related to your cycle or outside influences, and seems to come on randomly.
3. You noticed changes in your sleep or eating habits
Do you notice that during times when you are starting to have poor sleep or you lose your appetite, you tend to feel mentally worse afterward? This isn’t always a consequence of the lack of sleep, but actually the result of a depressive episode. Physical changes are very commonly related to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Finding Your Triggers
The most important thing you can do is find your triggers. These are whatever symptoms or situations that lead to depressive episodes. You might not be able to avoid it. But you can at least know when it’s coming and prepare for it.