The COVID-19 pandemic has lasted the better part of a year, and it doesn’t show signs of “going away” any time soon. While there are now two vaccines on the market and a light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic won’t go away overnight.
The mental health effects of this pandemic could be just as harmful as more research will likely reveal. Already, studies have shown higher rates of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
Almost everyone has likely experienced some “COVID blues” throughout this pandemic.
How do you know if you’re genuinely depressed or you’re just feeling fatigued from the effects of the pandemic?
How do you know if you’re truly depressed, or you’re just feeling fatigued from the effects of the pandemic?
1. You Don’t Feel Like Yourself
One of the first signs of fatigue and depression could be that you don’t feel like yourself. Maybe you’re more tired than usual, or some things don’t interest you the way they usually do.
Feelings of restlessness, changes in sleep or eating habits, and even feelings of emptiness or sadness could reflect depression or fatigue.
Keep in mind that everyone experiences symptoms differently. You may not be feeling all of these things, but a good rule of thumb is to take note of feeling any differences at all. You know your mind and body better than anyone. Feeling “off” is a good indicator that you could be dealing with either the blues or something more.
2. You Put More Restrictions On Yourself
How can you tell if those feelings are depression or simply fatigue?
Think about how impactful they are. For example, are you withdrawing from friends and family? Are you avoiding going out or doing things you love to do, such as walking the dog in the park, jogging, or outdoor yard work?
The pandemic has put restrictions on almost everyone, at least to an extent. But, if you find that you’re placing unnecessary restrictions on yourself, it could be a sign that you’re dealing with depression instead of fatigue.
Are you telling yourself you can’t go out and using the pandemic as an excuse? When you start to use COVID-19 as a way to justify your feelings, even though you know it’s more than that, you risk falling deeper into a depressed state. That can be especially harmful if you’re denying those feelings and acting as though everything is fine.
3. Your Symptoms Last a Long Time
One of the more significant indicators that you’re depressed and not just fatigued is if your symptoms last a long time.
Everyone feels down sometimes. But, if you’re fatigued or have the “blues” due to COVID-19, it’s more likely those feelings will come and go. You might feel sad for a short period each day or feel triggered by something like not being able to see your friends or family.
However, depression symptoms last longer. They typically don’t go away or come and go daily. Some days might feel better than others. As a whole, the symptoms are lingering, and you might feel as though you can’t find a shred of hope among them.
If that sounds like you, you’re certainly not alone. But, you also don’t have to continue to handle those symptoms on your own every day. If you think you might be struggling with depression, feel free to contact our office. Symptoms of depression are manageable, and it’s a condition that you can work through.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much uncertainty this year, but there is no shame in reaching out for help. Don’t allow yourself to suffer in silence or accept that you will have to deal with depression as you go into a new year. You can take control of your life again with the right treatment.