It is funny how most depression symptoms go hand in hand with pregnancy symptoms. If you ever experienced a sudden burst of crying because a cartoon horse was shot or sick, then you and I have something in common. However, this was my first clue that I was pregnant with my second child.
The depression version of this is when you are feeling down for no reason you sit there unable to move. Your heart is sinking into your gut. The hopelessness deepens until the tears begin to flow. Why are you hopeless? Why are you crying? Who knows? But there you sit, bawling because you can’t move.
Ever read symptoms of depression and think “Okay what does that look like?” Generic medical terms can be confusing. So, what does depression look like?
Here is a copied list of symptoms from Google. Some of which are self-explanatory but let’s look at what these look like in real life.
Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
This is the most common symptom and the easiest to understand. The constant fear or stress that accompanies most adults is considered anxiety. However, apathy? What does that mean? This is just another repeat of the loss of interest symptom. Things just don’t matter anymore. When you use to find joy in reading and now you could care less. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evolution-the-self/201604/the-curse-apathy-sources-and-solutions Apathy literally sums up most of the symptoms for depression.
Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
As mothers we understand how precious sleep is. But mothers and singles can have two different versions of these symptoms. When I was single and depressed. I would do nothing but sleep all day. I’d stay up late and sleep in until noon and this was normal for me. However, as a mother when I could sleep all night without little babies calling on me at all hours of the night, I would find myself tossing a turning not being able to sleep. I would wake up before the kids or I’d still be up every couple of hours as if I needed to be up. Then I’d be tired all day and the restless night would repeat itself. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/isnt-what-i-expected/201201/you-just-need-sleep-or-could-you-be-depressed If your thoughts won’t shut off you find yourself exhausted and frustrated, but you just can’t sleep this may be a symptom you are encountering.
Whole body: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness. Weight gain or weight loss
Another symptom of fatigue. I thought that was just part of the mom job? Yes and no. It is normal to be fatigued when you are up every couple of hours with babies or children. It is not normal to be tired with a full 8 hours of sleep. This can be directly related to eating habits. You’re eating habits can change drastically as a symptom. However, every mother needs to be aware that breastfeeding and pregnancy can cause the same symptom. This is a hormone that is activated. With my first child I felt like all I was doing was eating. Needless to say, I gained 40lbs with him. The second child was completely opposite. I had a food aversion to almost everything and yes, I only gained 23lbs with him.
However, when my sister was going through a separation, she lost all desire to eat. She dropped to 80lbs. She would force herself to eat and she was not breastfeeding or pregnant. This is a huge red flag as well as the constant need to eat. This symptom can go with other health issues so if you have no other symptoms of depression then you may need to look elsewhere for answers.
Behavioral: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
Have you ever snapped at your children because they are, well being children. How about crying because you just snapped at your children and the guilt is overwhelming? Guess what that is the mom version of these symptoms.
I suffer from social anxiety. Which connects to the symptom of social isolation. When the thought of going out feels too much. Just going to the grocery store builds up growing feelings of dread then you understand social anxiety. As a result, you stay at home most days and only go out when you “NEED” food.
Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
Thoughts of suicide is exactly as it sounds but lack of concentration and slowness of activity? Remember the hopelessness that paralyzes you then you work up the strength to feed the kids lunch usually the action after the hopelessness does not incite a bouncy happy mom feeding her kids organic homemade healthy meals. But more like a sloth pulling out the box of macaroni and cheese just to get something into the kids stomachs so they will stop complaining about hunger.
How about the forgetfulness? This is more than just walking into the next room and forgetting why you were there. It is the constant act of starting several different projects and not finishing them. This is another symptom that must relate to other depression symptoms or it can be related to other health issues.
Medical terms can be confusing. What they look like in everyday life is simple. Each symptom connects to other symptoms thus creating the complicated depression that entangles us in a web that is not easy to free ourselves from. Knowledge is the first step to freedom. Once we know what we are dealing with we know how to fight against. Do not let the web hold you prisoner. Learn from it and find freedom from others who have been freed. Keep up the good fight.