How can you know whether you have depression, which is a mental illness? Fever, a runny nose, headache, and cough are all common symptoms. They also serve as a very obvious indicator when someone is unwell with influenza. What about mental health issues? Is it possible to see depression symptoms? Here are a few examples of symptoms that seem to be invisible but are really manifestations of a mental illness, in this instance, major depression (as well as bipolar depression).
The first possibility is that I am in a state of “hibernation.” I’m unable to wake up and have been sleeping well past noon. I’ve often missed lunch because I’m too tired to eat it. After being up for one to two hours for breakfast, she takes an afternoon siesta. This trend persists, and it is easy to conclude that I am a slacker. I am usually fatigued,’ I could equally easily justify.
The second scenario involves emotions of helplessness and/or despair, which may be pervasive and persuasive. ‘There is nothing I can do,’ ‘My contribution would not improve the issue,’ ‘She is unwell, I can’t make her feel better,’ ‘We have no solutions we can offer our customers, we won’t obtain a contract renewal,’ Many people, including myself, believe I am lacking in endurance and desire to discover answers; that I am lacking in positivism; and that I have a character flaw. It’s simple to assess my performance and conclude that I’m impotent and worthless.
When restlessness sets in, the third context emerges. “What am I meant to do?” I think to myself. I can’t sit still,’ I think to myself. I should pack my luggage, maybe clean off the dining table. I become annoyed at general statements made by my family because I’m frustrated with my failure to get things done.
When my tolerance level drops, aggravation becomes fury or rage, which I regrettably target towards my family and those closest to me. So, how do I interpret this: a grumpy day? Or, alternatively, it may be regarded as just another poor day, in which case it isn’t a huge problem.
What are these apparently innocuous sensations and actions if I have them for a week, two weeks, or three weeks? Do I dismiss it and/or accept that it’s just me-I’m a slacker, weak-willed, and have a lousy temper?
I live in a time where most mental disease diagnoses are based on self-reported symptoms. I was lucky that 30 years ago, a newspaper clipping on depression and its symptoms was shown to me by a sister. In my teenage years, armed with knowledge regarding depression, I reluctantly attended my first psychiatrist. Being alone, I fought to make sense of these typical (and unseen) symptoms: exhaustion, drowsiness, anger (and wrath), feelings of worthlessness, and, in the worst-case scenario, suicidality.
Returning to the original issue, how can one tell whether they are mentally ill? At that early age, I did not and could not comprehend the situation.