Most all of us feel "depressed" at one time or another. We have days we feel sad or overwhelmed or frustrated. We feel lonely at one time or another, or even grieve the loss of a loved one. We may even have depressive feelings after major medical events like surgery or pregnancy. Here are some signs that your depressive feelings are becoming depression symptoms:

1. Sadness

Sometimes, we have reasons to cry, and sometimes, we cry for no reason. If your sadness does not improve over time, or you cannot function properly because of the weight of your sadness (including if you cannot stop crying), then you may be struggling with depression.

2. Hopeless

If you are feeling hopeless, or like you cannot intervene on your own behalf to make things better, this is a good time to ask for help. If you are feeling useless, unimportant or worthless, these are false thoughts appearing as emotions and signal the need for help.

3. Apathetic

If you feel so apathetic that you are not able to care for yourself or your family, ask for help. If your energy is so low you cannot function, or you feel so fatigued that you can't even try to function, these may be signs of depression.

4. Pattern changes

If you are sleeping excessively, or eating too much, that may be a sign of depressive symptoms. Sometimes, it is the opposite; it may be difficult to get enough sleep or to stay asleep. Sometimes, instead of overeating, depressed people may not eat enough.

5. Mood

Notice if your mood stays low, or if it fluctuates lower than your normal low. Often, the "cousin" of depression is anger. Sometimes, depressive symptoms show up as irritability, impatience, or a short-temper.

6. Isolating

At times, you may feel lonely, even when you are surrounded with people. You may also withdrawal from activities you normally enjoy, or stop participating in activities that used to lift your spirits. These are signs that you may be experiencing depressive symptoms.

If you have thoughts of self-hate, self-harm, or suicide, it is important to seek help right away by contacting your doctor or a mental health professional. There are many options in treatment, from medication and therapy to integrating simple coping skills and utilizing your support system.

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