First things first. You are not weak or crazy and you have nothing to be ashamed about. Clinical depression is a real, and not very rare psychological condition, and it can be treated very effectively.
If you are feeling powerless, don't despair. With the right treatment you can get your life back. The following symptoms shouldn't be treated as a diagnosis, but merely as a guideline to help you decide if this might not be just a slump you're going through.
1) Things you used to enjoy seem empty and meaningless
You've lost interest in your hobbies, work and relationships. Fun pastimes like socialising, reading, watching movies etc. don’t seem to distract or entertain you. Try as you might, all the things you always loved doing suddenly seem hollow.
2) Mornings and late afternoons are the worst
You wake up in the mornings feeling tired and unable to face the day. Even small things, like washing your hair or picking something up from the drycleaners seem like enormous tasks. After you've showered and dragged yourself to work you may start feeling better. You do your daily chores with more energy, but when you get home and the sun sets you feel lethargic, incompetent or anxious. In short, you experience the "Sunday night blues" seven days of the week.
3) Change in eating patterns
You've either lost interest in food because everything tastes like sawdust in your mouth or you've suddenly started scarfing anything that's not nailed down to the table. Your favourite dish has lost all appeal or you'll find yourself eating an entire loaf of bread just for the sake of it. This is most easily identified by sudden weight loss or weight gain.
4) You experience a disconnect with other people
Try as you might you just can't seem to interact normally with other people. You feel separated from your loved ones and alienated from the rest of society. You have that nagging teenage feeling that nobody understands you. The good news is, you may be right! But a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist will.
5) You have morbid fantasies and court the idea of self-harm
You might not consider suicide directly, but every now and then sneaking thoughts of a tragic accident that will End It All pop up in your conscious mind. If these are more than sneaking thoughts, and if you begin to believe that death is your only way out, get up NOW and phone your doctor.
It feels as if your situation is hopeless, but trust me, and millions of other people who have suffered from this, it's not. Get help, get your life back.
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