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11 Signs you or a loved one might be experiencing Depression.

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

"I'm feeling depressed" is a really overused term in Singapore. Here's some warning signs as to what clinical depression really looks like.

Everyone has felt sad and miserable at some point in their lives. When does it become something you really need to watch out for?

Being sad or unhappy is not the same thing as being clinically depressed. In Singapore, we like to loosely use the term "I'm depressed" to describe a bad day at work, after we had a fight with a loved one, or when something not so nice happens to us.

We even use it for the most trivial of things, much like "This bubble tea flavour sucks, I'm so depressed now". It's no thanks to such usage that the condition has become misunderstood in Singapore.

Major Depression, or Clinical Depression, is something very different from the occasional sadness or disappointment you feel. It's a persistent feeling, and one you should watch out for if you experience some or more of the warning signs for more than two weeks.

Below are 12 warning signs you or a love one might suffer from Depression. They are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth-Edition (DSM-5), a tool that Physicians use to check for various mental disorders.

Have a read through and see if it's time to get some help and make yourself feel better.

1. You're in a depressed mood, most of the day, nearly everyday.

Sadness is a natural response to things that are happening in our lives.

Be it losing your job, the end of a romantic relationship, or even feeling grief after losing someone you love. Sadness is a natural emotion to feel in these cases, and it comes about from a specific situation or event in your life.

When the sadness doesn't seem to go away, even after much time has passed, then that's something to look out for. Especially if it's beginning to affect important areas of your life, like your friendships, your job, and your family.

Depression might also come about even when no specific situation or event seems to have caused it. A person suffering from depression feels sad or hopeless about everything. Each and every day.

You might have many reasons to be happy in the world, but because of depression, you lose the ability to experience joy and pleasure in your life.

2. You've lost pleasure in doing the things you used to love.

Depression takes the pleasure and enjoyment out of things you once loved, whether you used to love playing sports, getting active in your hobbies, or even hanging out with close friends.

When you're experiencing depression you've lost interest in many of the activities that you once looked forward to. This even includes spending times with your loved one and a reduced sex drive.

3. The future looks bleak to you and you feel hopeless.

Depression affects your outlook in life. When you experience depression, having a hopeless or pessimistic outlook to life is one of the most common symptoms.

The emotions you feel might be a sense of worthlessness, helplessness, self-hate, and feeling guilty about yourself. You often think to yourself “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point of life?

4. You feel tired all the time.

People experiencing depression often find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. The drive to get up and do "normal" things in life are affected by feelings of perpetual tiredness.

You might experience a lack of energy and a debilitating sense of fatigue. This is one of the reasons why you've lost interest in doing the things you once loved.

5. You can't seem to sleep or you sleep much more than usual.

Depression might drive you sleep more than usual. Due to the fatigue mentioned above, you might feel the need to sleep in more each day. The idea of getting up and out of bed is a struggle each day.

On the flip side, Depression is also linked with Insomnia. It's hard to tell which came first, but this might be the cause of your fatigue. Insomnia might be caused by overwhelming thoughts when you go to bed at night. People experiencing depression have a tendency to ruminate, the mind going into overdrive thinking about all the negative things in their lives.

This lack of good quality sleep is a tough one, and can lead to symptoms of anxiety too.

6. You can't seem to concentrate.

Tiredness, a depressed mood, and dealing with negative thoughts all lead to an inability to concentrate each day. People experiencing depression have difficulty concentrating, whether at work, school, or in doing the usual recreational activities like watching TV or reading.

When you're experiencing a rather severe bout of Depression, it might even impact your performance at work and school.

7. You feel like withdrawing from friends and family.

Rather than seek help and support, you experience a tendency to withdraw from the people you love. There are many reasons for this. You might come to believe that you are a burden to your family and friends, where you don't want to dampen their mood along with yours.

The lack of energy and tiredness might also be another cause.

It could also simply be that you find it difficult to put up a brave face in front of your friends and family. You might think it's easier if you retreated into solitude and dealt with it yourself (P. S. it only makes it worse).

8. You're experiencing changes in appetite or weight.

People experiencing depression see their weight and appetite fluctuate widely. Some people will have an increased appetite and eat more than usual. Others might have lost interest in food and will start losing weight.

9. You can't seem to control your emotions.

One moment, you feel an immense sense of sadness and want to cry your eyes out. The next it's an outburst of anger, perhaps directed at the unfairness of your life. You experience plenty of mood swings when you have Depression.

Nothing external really prompts this change in your mood, but due to the volatility of the thoughts going on in your mind, your emotions are a rollercoaster ride.

10. You're experiencing a lot of irritability everyday.

Depression may appear differently in men than in women. Men typically experience a sense of irritability during Depression. Many times, this may manifest as anger and rage as well.

When a person feels irritable, they don’t want to be bothered by others. They want to be left alone. While doing so, they might also start trying to numb their emotions and engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse.

11. You have thoughts of what it's like to die.

This last one is a scary one. A person experiencing depression might have recurrent thoughts of death or self-harm (not so much a fear of dying). They might have thoughts that they want to die.

This recurrent thoughts of suicide ideation might come with a specific plan sometimes, but at many other times, they do not.

In many cases, a depressed person shows or experiences symptoms before self-harm occurs. If that's you or a loved one, please know it is never too late to get help. There are many people that care and want to help you feel better.

You can get back into experiencing life fully.

You will get better.

Asking for help is the strongest thing you can do.

Depression in any form or shape greatly impacts your quality of life. This might even extend to include those of your close family and friends.

If you think you're experiencing some or all of these symptoms, ask for some help. Be it a close friend or a mental help professional, it doesn't make you a weak person. In fact, it makes you the exact opposite.

You've been putting up a strong front long enough.


Thanks for reading this article on Kaya Toast for the Soul.

Note this article is meant to be a guide and I am not medically qualified to make any diagnosis. On the same vein, do be careful about self-diagnosing yourself as you might miss the nuances of the diagnosis that an expert might be pick up.

See a professional if you think you might be experiencing any mental health issues. The road ahead of you will be better with help and a strong support system.

In Singapore, there are many resources available and people that are ready to help at any time. Please do check these out below or even drop me an email so I can direct you to someone who can help. Take care.

National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868

(8am-12am daily, from 1 Sep 2020)

Mental Well-being

- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222)

- Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444)


- TOUCHline (Counselling) – 1800 377 2252


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