How to Spot Warning Signs of Depression and Anxiety

We live in a complex and hurried world full of endless responsibilities, whether raising children, working, attending university, etc. Yet, many individuals are struggling both physically and mentally due to it. Sadly, it’s easier to miss the mental health warning signs than the physical ones if a person is always on the go. However, it is crucial to spot the warning signs of depression and anxiety to receive proper treatment.

Warning Signs of Depression

We’ve all felt sad or blue – maybe our best friend moved away, or we didn’t get the lead in a play. Still, this is typically situational. In comparison, major depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is essentially feeling that way daily, possibly lasting weeks to months if untreated. So, let’s look at some symptoms.

People with major depression can experience the following:

  • Frequent crying 
  • Easily irritated 
  • Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Little or no energy/unable to complete simple tasks
  • Inability to feel or identify emotions 
  • Hopelessness for the future 
  • Feelings of worthlessness and emptiness 
  • Loneliness or isolating oneself from others
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or overeating 
  • Increase or decrease in weight 
  • Thoughts of suicide

A depressed individual can go from being a social butterfly to completely isolating themselves from their friends. They may become easily irritated with things that never affected them before. Or, they may struggle to get out of bed or aren’t able to perform the activities of daily living (ADLs), including getting out of their pajamas, brushing their teeth, or combing their hair. 

A decline in one’s ADLs is the first indication of spiraling downward and can lead to more dangerous behaviour, including substance abuse, self-harm, or suicidal behaviour. Therefore, treatment is crucial.

More dangerous warning signs may include:

  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Strong feelings of guilt or shame
  • Saying they want to die or have no reason to live

Sudden changes in behavior may include:

  • Making plans or searching for ways to die
  • Dangerous behaviours such as driving recklessly 
  • Tying up loose ends – e.g., finances, drawing out a will, goodbye letters, giving away personal items
  • Extreme mood changes – e.g., from at ease to hostile or from depression to a state of calm

It is important to note that depression has no biases. In other words, depression can happen to anyone, regardless of socioeconomic or relationship status, gender, or sexual identity.

Warning Signs of Anxiety

Visualize how nerve-wracking it can be to take a school final or present in front of a large group of people. Your palms might become sweaty, your cheeks flush, or your body trembles. However, this is typically a situational event. People with an anxiety disorder are hyperaware and often feel threatened or fear impending danger. For instance, they might fear something terrible will happen if they leave the house, go to a grocery store, or talk with others. 

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Bodily tremors or ticks
  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Easily agitated
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Tense muscles
  • Avoiding people or places

Anxiety disorders may lead to panic attacks for some individuals, which are sudden periods of intense fear. 

Symptoms of panic attacks can include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Fear of losing control/feelings of impending doom
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness/feeling faint
  • Confusion
  • Numbness 
  • Sweatiness
  • Shortness of breath

An anxiety disorder can be debilitating and negatively impact one’s job, schooling, relationships, and daily functioning. Therefore, treatment for anxiety is also vital. 

Ways to Treat Depression and Anxiety

It’s just as important to treat mental health conditions the way one would treat physical conditions. Therefore, seeking support and treatment for depression and anxiety is crucial to improve one’s mental health and wellness. 

So, what are some ways to treat depression and anxiety?

Reach Out to Others 

People with mental health conditions often don’t ask for help because they don’t want to be an imposition. However, it’s not good for anyone to take on their issues alone. Therefore, if you have supportive friends, family members, or a mentor, try and tell them how you are feeling.

Many people want to help their loved ones. However, they may not realise you need help or know how to handle the situation. So, expressing your needs is essential. You might ask them to spend time with you, cook you a hot meal, or help watch your children.

Not everyone feels comfortable talking to their loved ones, while others lack home support. Therefore, why not find a support group with people who can relate to your situation? Talking to others who have been there and can offer insight without judgement can be just what you need. One such place is Barty’s Adventures, where they hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health.  Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative

Seek Mental Health Treatment

People often think there must be something wrong with them if they seek professional treatment. However, that is not the case. Many people attend counseling to maintain good mental health. 

We don’t always have the answers. So, working with a therapist who can help you understand your situation better can be beneficial. For example, your therapist might notice certain signs or symptoms you didn’t recognise. They can help you with your thought patterns, teach you how to build better coping skills and educate you on managing your life more effectively. 

There is Hope

Depression and anxiety are both treatable conditions. So, it’s important to know that it’s not hopeless. Still, you can’t always do everything by yourself. Therefore, don’t be afraid to seek help, as it could be the best thing you ever do for yourself. It’s ultimately about knowing that you’re not alone nor suffering needlessly. 

Why Not Try Online Therapy?

Hopefully, these points could give some comfort, but sometimes just reading quotes isn’t enough. Online therapy can be a great option if you or a loved one is looking for more support.

Therapy through can be more affordable than traditional therapy and allows many options to communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home. Most importantly, remember that it is okay not to be okay, and you are no less of a human for feeling your emotions and being vulnerable.

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Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,’ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

Sandy Glover

Sandy is the resident mental health professional at Barty. She previously worked as a therapist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in counselling. Sandy has transitioned to becoming a peer presenter at several mental health settings through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her passion for mental health is evident in her writing as a subject matter expert who draws from personal experience, professional expertise, and education to help eliminate stigma.

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