Depression can sneak up on you. At first, you may shrug it off as a temporary feeling or a transient case of the blues. But when two or three weeks go by and your feelings haven’t improved, you have major depression.

Many people who come to MindSet in San Diego, California, for help with ongoing depression say they would have looked for treatment earlier if they had known how to recognize the signs of serious depression. We want to help by giving you the top five signs of depression.

You should seek help from a mental health professional when you:

Feel overwhelmed with negative feelings

The hallmark signs of depression include feelings of sadness, despair, hopelessness, helplessness, and emptiness. For most, these unrelenting feelings make it impossible to fulfill their daily responsibilities, whether their job performance drops, they take time off from work, or stop taking care of their family.

At first, you may try to hide your feelings and act happy, but it’s hard to keep up appearances when depression pervades every aspect of your life. When you have these negative feelings nearly every day for at least two weeks, it’s time to seek help for your depression.

Develop a deep, unending fatigue

Beyond the feelings of depression, fatigue is one of the most common signs that your depression is serious. Medical experts report that more than 90% of all people with depression feel fatigued or drained of all energy.

The deep fatigue caused by depression can make it hard to get out of bed. This type of fatigue makes every task seem like more than you can manage, even when it’s a necessary part of daily living. You may stop taking care of yourself or fail to fix healthy meals.

The low energy caused by depression also affects your brain. Some people call it “brain fog,” but by any name, it means you can’t concentrate or make decisions.

Avoid the activities you usually enjoy

Considering the underlying sadness, emptiness, and fatigue, it’s natural for depression to prevent you from engaging in the activities that make your life feel full and happy. You might stop pursuing a hobby, decline invitations to go out with friends, or lose interest in sex.

Depression takes away your motivation to stay active and deprives you of the joy or satisfaction you once experienced from these activities.

When you realize that you have stopped participating in the things you once enjoyed, it’s a sure sign that you should talk to a mental health professional about your depression.

Experience changes in your daily habits and health

Changes in your daily habits, attitudes, and health may occur so gradually that you won’t recognize them as a sign of depression. But when they persist for several weeks, these changes tell you that it’s time to seek help.

You may unconsciously eat more or less than normal, leading to weight gain or loss. Depression often affects your sleep, either making it hard to sleep or leading you to sleep more than normal.

Many people with depression find that they’re often irritable, restless, or quick to anger. As depression lowers your tolerance, everything tends to get on your nerves.

Depression also causes everyday aches and health problems. It’s common to develop headaches, backaches, muscle aches, chronic pain, and digestive problems.

Think about death or suicide

When you feel overwhelmed and you can’t see a way to improve your mood or find a solution to your challenges, death may seem like the only way to end your pain. As soon as you start thinking about death, it’s vital to immediately talk with a medical professional.

What you should know about treatment for depression

The first line of treatment for depression includes talk therapy and antidepressants. Many people find the help they need with these therapies, their depression lifts, and they move forward into a happy, thriving life.

However, not everyone responds to conventional treatment. If your symptoms continue even after you take several courses of antidepressants — or if you develop suicidal thoughts — we can help with personalized repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS®).

PrTMS uses safe magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of your brain and restore normal nerve activity. By evaluating your brainwave patterns using the PeakLogic ComfortScan™ EEG, we can precisely identify areas where neurons are underactive.

These underactive areas result in low levels of neurotransmitters, which in turn lead to major depression and suicidal thoughts. As we target these precise areas with PrTMS, you can experience a rapid improvement in your symptoms.

If you need help overcoming depression, call MindSet or send an email online and we will get in touch with you.