The different ways depression can manifest

Depression doesn’t always show itself in obvious ways.

The question:

Since I was laid off two months ago, I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m much more irritable and haven’t been very motivated to do some of the things that I usually enjoy, like playing tennis. My girlfriend thinks I’m depressed, but I’m not suicidal or anything like that. What do you think?

I’m sorry to hear about your job. Times are tough. Job loss is considered one of the top 10 stressors a person can experience in the course of a lifetime. Obviously, unemployment can affect your mood, your self-esteem and your sleep. And a lack of sleep can affect your mood, your self-esteem and your energy level. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what comes first.

So are you depressed? Possibly, but it’s hard to determine without more information. On the surface, you seem to display at least two of the five symptoms needed to diagnose depression. Your insomnia and loss of interest in activities that you previously found pleasurable are two signature signs. But in order to make a definitive diagnosis, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, at least three additional symptoms would need to be present for most of the time during a two-week period:

Feeling sad and empty most of the time
 
Significant increase or decrease in appetite
 
Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
 
Feelings of worthlessness and hopeless about the future
 
Diminished ability to concentrate/indecisiveness
 
Recurrent suicidal thoughts
 
Feeling unusually sluggish or slowed down

Rather than take my word, my advice is to consult a mental health professional who can do a full and proper assessment. Depression, considered the common cold of mental illness, is nothing to be ashamed of — but it is something to take seriously, especially if it persists. Fortunately, treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-depressants can help alleviate symptoms.

In the meantime, I suggest creating a routine that involves a set schedule and work area for your job search. Consider consulting a career counselor and join professional networking groups. You might also try to improve your sleep by: 1. Winding down early the same time every night; 2. Refraining from caffeine after 1 p.m.; and 3. Limiting stimulation like television and the Internet before bedtime.

— Kim Schneiderman, MSW, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and former journalist with a private
practice in New York City. She is currently working on her first book, “How to Be the Star of Your Own Story: Writing the Path to Personal Transformation,” based on her therapeutic writing
workshops at the 92nd Street Y and JCC in Manhattan. E-mail her your questions at askkim@metro.us.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.