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10 Signs of Depression & Insight Into Suicide

10 Signs of depression & insight into suicide
10 Signs of depression & insight into suicide

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 10 key signs of depression and an insightful response to claims that suicide is a selfish act.

First a quick update:

“Self-sabotage & how to end it”
Listen to the hour-long interview I gave to Josh Elledge – 90 days to abundance – about the ways we sabotage our lives and success. Why we sabotage; How to stop sabotage; How to help a husband or wife, family, or friend who sabotages themselves; How to overcome anxiety.

Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert

Now, let’s talk about the 10 key signs of depression and an insightful response to claims that suicide is a selfish act.

As a result of the recent death of Robin Williams, various media outlets have been asking me for insights into depression and the ways a person can recognize it in themselves or their partner.

“Does the average person know the difference between ‘the blues’ and depression?” asked one TV reporter.

Every one of us will experience some form of the blues and some form of depression. The way to distinguish between a sad or depressed mood and a state of depression that needs attention is to answer these 3 questions:

1. Duration
When you feel sad, down or depressed, for how long does it last?

2. Intensity
When it happens, how intense would you rate it from 1 -10 (high being 10)?

3. Frequency
How often do you experience this state or feelings?

If you are having intense feelings of depression that occur nearly every day and last most of the day, then we would refer to that as depression. Severe depression occurs when the state overtakes your life, you cannot function and it is destroying your life and relationships.

There are also various forms of depression from sadness and anxiety to delusions and hallucinations to postpartum depression and its opposite – mania.

Here are the 10 key signs of depression, again referring to them as occurring nearly every day and for most of the day; you do not need to have all 10 signs to be experiencing depression:

  1. Sadness, emptiness: Depressed mood with feelings of being sad or empty; others notice you are sad or tearful
  2. Lack of interest in pleasurable activities: A loss of interest and excitement in what were once highly pleasurable activities – hobbies, sports, exercise, sex and so forth; psychological and physical isolation – particularly in men
  3. Weight loss/gain: Significant weight loss or gain without dieting; loss of appetite; for some people this is also recognized as food cravings
  4. Insomnia: Restless sleeping, inability to sleep or hypersomnia (over sleeping, not wanting to get out of bed)
  5. Hyper physical activity or inactivity: This is also known as psychomotor agitation or retardation – pacing, wringing hands, nervous habits, anxiety or lifelessness like a rag doll
  6. Fatigue, loss of energy: Feeling tired regardless of sleep, activity or inactivity
  7. Worthlessness: Feelings of worthlessness, fixated on past failures, excessive guilt
  8. Inability to concentrate: Hard to focus and concentrate, inability to make decisions, avoiding making decisions, poor memory
  9. Suicidal thoughts: Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts with or without a specific plan; suicide attempts
  10. Physical pain: Physical problems with no medical explanation or cause – back pain, headaches, random or rotating body aches

The above symptoms and signs relate primarily to depression in adults. For teenagers, the additional signs include feelings of worthlessness, anger, irritability, sadness, hypersensitivity, feeling misunderstood, poor performance at school, wagging school, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, apathy, isolation.

Many TV reporters also asked me about ways to deal with depression and causes of depression.

Uncovering and appropriately dealing with the root cause of the depression is the real solution. Of course, in certain instances, medication is needed as a bridge to help the client function or overcome a crisis.

On my way to a TV studio for an interview, the driver, upon learning what I do, told me how he was feeling depressed, was 6 years in recovery from alcoholism and wanted to get medication to deal with his depression.

When I asked him what he was feeling, he mentioned sadness. I asked what happened that led him to feeling sad. His girlfriend had recently ended the relationship and thus, now he was feeling lonely and alone.

The solution to his problem was clear – deal with the loneliness; he is a single father. Accordingly, he became motivated to take action as we discussed where and how he could interact, connect with and date women.

He thanked me for helping him to see that medication would not have solved the loneliness.

Another TV reporter asked my why do I think so many people refer to suicide as a selfish act.

Recently punk rocker, Henry Rollins, says he has “battled depression” his whole life: “There have been some truly awful stretches, as I am sure there have been for anyone who deals with depression, that have at times rendered me almost paralytic.”  Click to read more.

In his LA Weekly column, Henry Rollins expressed his opinion on suicide, harshly criticizing Robin Williams for taking his own life.

“How in the hell could you possibly do that to your children? I don’t care how well-adjusted your kid might be – choosing to kill yourself, rather than to be there for that child, is every shade of awful, traumatic and confusing. I think as soon as you have children, you waive your right to take your own life. No matter what mistakes you make in life, it should be your utmost goal not to traumatize your kids. So, you don’t kill yourself.”  Click to read more.

Henry Rollins has subsequently apologized for his comments.

Of course, it is easy to argue that any act is selfish when the person doing it receives some benefit while others are harmed. However, people who make this statement about suicide do not understand the motivations for suicide.

A person who chooses to end his life is in extraordinary pain, believes he/she is worthless, hopeless and sincerely believes the world would be better without them.

Research reveals that suicide is driven by 3 key factors:

Desire to die based on psychological isolation (loneliness and disconnection – shame) and/or emotional or physical pain

Burdensomeness to the rest of the world (lack of value and significance)

Power of fearlessness to override the instinct to survive and flee death

Suicide and depression are always connected to some psychological pain, trauma or extreme stress. The American Journal of Psychiatry published a study in July 30, 2014, where it was revealed that a specific gene indicates suicidal behavior and that it is triggered by stress and anxiety: “SKA2 significantly interacted with anxiety and stress to explain about 80% of suicidal behavior and progression from suicidal ideation to suicide attempt.”  Click here to read more.

Stress impacts us in ways that we refuse to even accept, because we either view ourselves as weak (not needing help) or we refuse to stop because we are so caught up in survival or competition that we choose to ignore the stress until it stops us.

There is always hope and a solution if you choose to seek them. If you need assistance to free yourself of these emotions to live fully and joyfully, then consider booking a session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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