9 Signs of Depression Affecting Mental Health
"You must be strong and not cry"
Something we have heard our whole lives. Being healthy and a leader is not a wrong way to act at times, but it can’t be kept up every minute of every day. Without being able to open up and admit vulnerability, there are many mental illnesses we may open ourselves up to coming in the forms of depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, mental disorders, seasonal affective disorder, suicidal thoughts and much more.
Watching my father age 3x faster than he was supposed to and die at the age of seventy-three from a combination of Parkinsons and Cancer was something I could not have been prepared to handle.
It left me in shell shock, having to take a month off work and not feel any joy in the world. I then planned a trip to Bali to get away from all the sorrow I felt, but instead of getting on the plane, 3 hours before take off I found myself on the floor in my doorway to my bedroom closet. Knees curled up into my chest, head repeatedly bouncing off the floor, gasping for air as I sobbed uncontrollably.
To say the least, I did not make my flight.
I have felt the undeniable lows of depression. These times are easy to notice, life is not possible to live the same way as you want, no matter how hard you try. It is easy to say...
However, depression doesn't always smack us in the face like this, for the majority of males. Mental health conditions are a low lying fog that seeps their way into your daily life. We take on the alpha male mindset and push through the hard times until over such a continuous period that you forget what 'normal' feels like to you. Here are the basic symptoms of depression.
Signs Of Mental Depression
Feeling Of Sadness And Emptiness
I have found that trying to asses if I am 'sad' is not the easiest thing to do. Sadness can be easily disguised in other things going on.
I did, however, recognize times when everyone else around me was excited over something occurring, and I would be fabricating joy just to fit in.
During that moment of jubilation by my peers, I could not relate to the happiness that was happening with them. In these exact moments, I rarely would think something was different with me. It wasn't till hours or days later when I looked back on that moment did I start to accept I couldn't feel that special occasion like they did.
Many things can happen daily in all of our lives that give us a little pick me up, and these are what left behind once depression hits.
5 Lost Connections When Depressed
Why Am I Irritated Regularly
Unfortunately, those around us take the brunt of our depression before we can recognize its there. Our loved ones or friends who we surround ourselves with may see our grief in the form of anger or irritation towards them, for things that used not to be an issue.
You may start realizing that you get angry at the smallest things now, perhaps someone didn't do something you asked of them like they didn't place their dirty dishes into the dishwasher. And instead of taking that dish and doing the 3-second action of dealing with it, you let that anger brew inside you and make it seethe out throughout the day towards them.
Or maybe perhaps your calm demeanour in traffic starts to show flashes of road rage. Instead of letting the person slide for their poor indication of wanting to turn left and not using their blinker, you feel it necessary to lay on the horn and flip them the bird.
To address this, you need to have a constant way of reflecting on your life, perhaps starting a daily journal or allowing 20 minutes every night to go over in your head how your day was. As the days of reflection move on and you get some time under your belt, you will be able to see the little changes more clearly.
An excellent start to finding your way out of the anger is to come clean to anyone you may have released it upon. Open up to them and tell them what you have come to realize about yourself. They will be grateful for the confession and probably very happy to help you in addressing the issue by noticing it in the future when it happens again.
Depression And Loss Of Sex Drive
No matter what age you are, no one wants to admit that they are having any issues with one of the biggest things we males pride ourselves. Throughout history, our sex drive has been our backbone, from the necessity of keeping our clan abundant to making sure our family line is secure and holds its place in this world. But mainly it is just a source of pride deep down that you can follow through, and follow through with vigour!
Until my late 20's, I never had anything come up as a problem with my sex drive. It was more than I could handle, and I never thought it was going to settle down. Then my first bought with a severe mental issue hit and ever since then I have not been the same.
Getting our hormones back to appropriate levels can be addressed in multiple areas, but the first thing you should do is go in and see your family doctor get a test done of your testosterone levels. Getting this done will give help you analyze if your levels are low or maybe perhaps its a mental block that has occurred.
If the tests come back with your levels being low, ask your doctor what you should do from a science background to help this. Other than getting prescribed medication, you can address these areas in your day to day life that will help your body run better, which will help your sex drive in return.
5 Steps to Naturally Increase Sex Drive
Start a fitness routine that gets you active at least 5-6 days a week
Look at your daily eating habits by eating less processed and fast foods
Get 6-8 hours of sound sleep
Cut back, or completely out, on liquor and drugs
Can’t Sleep Because Of Depression
Living in a state of exhaustion for weeks to months, perhaps even years will change your way of living over time.
There are many ways major depression can affect your sleeping. One would be being the person who can't fall asleep, lying awake for hours before you the early hours of the morning, your eyes finally shut just to wake shortly for work.
Perhaps you do fall asleep with no problems yet wake up 10-20 times a night, never being able to fall into a good REM deep sleep pattern.
Or maybe you are like me, not having a problem falling asleep nor getting 5-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but when you wake up, you feel as if it has been three hours total of a constant state of interruption.
Without proper sleep our brain can't repair, our testosterone cant stay at an adequate level and our bodies in general cant do normal functions we ask of it says doctor Mathew Walker.
9 Ways to Improve Your Sleep Naturally
Don't use your phone, watch TV or look at your computer 30-45 minutes before you turn the lights off
Read a book before bed
Journal before bed
Get 60 minutes of physical activity in during the day
Get 60 minutes of fresh air during the day
Go to sleep at the same time each night
Drink a little more than a shot glass of Organic Tart Cherry Juice 30-45 minutes before bed which naturally produces melatonin
Eat less processed foods
Consume less sugar
Having Weight Gain / Weight Loss from Depression
The act of eating becomes less critical for me when having mental health problems, there is less desire to eat the amount of food that usually fills my day. Over time I recognized that I lose weight and start looking more gaunt in my face.
The foods I enjoy become less of an attraction to me, and I look at food more as a fuel needed for my body to make it through my day, with no reason to eat more than required. The possibility of an eating disorder could occur.
For every ying, there is a yang. To counter those who eat less, some use food as a source of comfort. Cooking, snacks and general eating becomes an area that brings them quick sources of pleasure.
They use food as a hit of dopamine to take away the dull feeling of life whenever possible. In the long term, this will add on extra weight, which can, unfortunately, become another source adding to the depression.
The most positive thing you can do is try to stick as close to your healthy wieght as possible. If you are a regular gym right, don’t be so focused on gaining muscle mass. Focus on getting in there and getting a good sweat on day after day, over time it will all come back.
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Unable to complete daily routines
From waking up and making your bed to cleaning up your dishes before you turning the lights off before sleep, there are things in our days that can be done yet don't exactly have to be. If you don't put your shoes at their regular spot or fill up the sink with dirty dishes for multiple days in a row without cleaning them, the world will not end. But alarm bells should pop up.
Areas of depression like this are the biggest fore-tellers of there being something going on. They have nothing to do with other people and only affect you by making your day less enjoyable as your world becomes less organized. Also, by having material things in your life disturbed, this can be analyzed far quicker than trying to figure out if you are experiencing less joy in your day or contemplating if your sex drive is down.
I have used this area as my first step in many dark times as my base to ove forward and upward. First, by analyzing what makes me feel right at the end of the day, and then break that down to see what actions need to be taken to make that occur.
7 Daily Task To Do When Depression
Make bed right after waking up
Wash breakfast dishes right away
Clean the kitchen countertops once done in the morning
Put all clothes in Dirty Clothes hamper once taken off
Fold laundry and put into appropriate places out of washer/dryer
Clean up the kitchen after dinner
Put back all chairs, dishes and anything else that may have moved throughout the day
Feelings Of Social Anxiety
No matter if you were a social butterfly before your depression or were naturally comfortable in your own space for long periods. The desire to spend time in groups of people for general small talk and hanging out will decrease.
When depressed, we find ourselves wanting to be in our safest bubble. A safety bubble could be your apt, your workplace or maybe something as small as your bed. Wherever you find the less chance of resistance in finding things that make you uncomfortable is going to be your desired place to spend the majority of the time.
There is nothing wrong with feeling safe, I also wouldn't push your boundaries on getting back out into public to fast. Focus your work on bettering your daily routine and other physical health areas.
Pushing your comfort level too fast is a quick way to trigger the depression feelings again and have a setback. It’s ok to be one of those people with social anxiety for a time, just make a promise to yourself you will take a step forward when you are ready.
9 Symptoms of Social Anxiety
Blood rushing to your face
Feeling hot all of a sudden
Dizziness or lightheaded
Muscle tension or twitching
Upset stomach or nausea
Trouble catching your breath
Feeling that your mind has gone blank
Taking Drugs and Alcohol to Mask Depression
The desire to get rid of the lows from any mental struggles can leave you searching for that quick boost of positive feedback. We want to mask the reality of it all. The highs can come in forms of physical activity, creating enough exertion we release endorphins to give us that hit of dopamine. Unfortunately, this takes dedication and a certain amount of time each day to build up to get that feedback.
The more easily accessible options and far quicker to get that rush of positive feelings are drugs and alcohol.
Drugs and alcohol allow us to alter our mood in an instant with varying levels of substances to use, possibly turning into a substance use disorder. No matter how strong or weak the poison you decide to use, there will be the desired outcome.
If you find yourself having mid-week nightcaps more frequently or adding an alcoholic drink to more of your meals, this might be a sign of something going on in your self that you are trying to mask.
The same goes for drugs. I wasn't diagnosed with a medical condition at the time but found myself using over the counter muscle relaxants at one point when I was dealing with my PTSD. It took me some analyzing after buying my second pack in a week to realize what was going on.
make it happen
- Never Alone
Using Sex To mask depression
Another way to push out that sadness that follows you around from sunrise to sunset is to use sex as a flood of pleasure to fill the void. More specifically having an orgasm, that single cure-all button that lasts just seconds, but makes the world feel that much better when it's activated.
From the statistics, it seems this is the least used option to cover up your depression. However, I believe orgasms could be the most used masking of depression. It is just that we men are too ashamed to admit that our sexual encounters are to fill a void of sadness or that we masturbate regularly because we are feeling down and don't know what else to do, or pick up their sexual activity with others.
I am not saying don't have sex, nor masturbate or watch porn. Just consider the reasons you may have an uptake in this area, mainly if drugs and alcohol are used more in unison with it. Always practice safe sexual health.
Signs of Depression
Never feel happy
Loss of libido
Do not sleep well
Not completing daily tasks set
Anxiety being in public
Using drugs and alcohol more regularly
Using sex as a way of feeling alive
Remember that seeing these issues is the hardest part, so good on you for taking to time to step outside the box and look in. But once you notice that they are occurring to mask your depression, then comes the real work.
Rarely will you be able to stop the action right away. I will take weeks to months, maybe even years of working on them to slowly build back that healthy pattern you once knew and followed.
Start analyzing today and work each day forward on bettering yourself, there is no shame in finding a form of treatment for depression.