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Depression Warning Signs: What To Watch For

Written and verified by Holly Hazen

Can you tell when depression is serious? Learn telltale depression warning signs below with the depression scale, all the warning signs to watch for and where you can get help right away. Find out now if you or someone you love has symptoms of severe depression.

Don't wait until it's too late.

Before we go much further... if you're feeling suicidal, watch this

Depression is common in individuals who suffer with migraines and chronic pain.

It is not just a low mood. Depression is a serious medical condition that can reduce everyday normal functioning to become virtually impossible.

Participating in any of the activities or being with the people they once used to enjoy, can become unbearable.

There are visible depression warning signs shown in changes of behavior, physical reactions and the not so visible emotional symptoms.

Everyone deals with it differently, but the signs are there if you know what to look for.

We all have a low day now and again and life's events alone can leave us feeling quite miserable and down.

The problem arises when these low feelings persist for a long time causing changes in mood and behaviors that can then develop into a deeper depression.

One in five people will experience some kind of depression in their lifetime.

According to the Beyondblue organization here in Australia, your depression checklist can be an important indicator of what stage you might be in on the depression scale.

Have a look so you can know the depression warning signs before they take you by surprise and it’s too late.

Depression Warning Signs @migrainesavvyDo You Know If You're In Danger?

The Depression Scale

If you experience any of these for more than two weeks please contact someone for professional help:

In the past two weeks have you:

1. Been feeling sad, down or miserable?

2. Lost interest in most of your usual activities, or notice a real lack of pleasure in your life?

3. Increased or lost your appetite significantly resulting in losing or gaining a lot of weight?

4. Experienced insomnia or have a hard time sleeping? Or the other end of the spectrum – wanting to sleep all the time?

5. Felt slowed down, lethargic, unable to do usual things? No energy.

6. Become restless or have (or made yourself) excessively busy?

7. Experienced feelings of worthlessness?

8. Had excessive or obsessive feelings of guilt?

9. Struggled with poor concentration?

10. Had any thoughts around death, wanting to die or commit suicide?

If you answered yes to 4 or less, it is unlikely that you have a depressive illness, you may just be experiencing a low time in your life.

If you answered yes to 5 or more, it is likely that you may be experiencing a depressive illness. If you are experiencing some of these symptoms please TAKE ACTION NOW and arrange to speak to your doctor or phone a counsellor. Please don’t wait, there is a lot of help around for you, so don’t tackle this on your own.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself please take urgent action now. Thoughts of suicide are the most extreme result of depression. I cannot stress how important it is to get help as soon as possible. See your Doctor, tell your friends, let others help you. I know asking for help can be hard – but as the Nike ad says “Just Do It”.

I can highly recommend the professional counselors that you can reach 24/7 online for pain counseling and migraine support. Even though I was embarrassed and ashamed at first, getting counseling and migraine advice was one of the best steps I ever took towards getting the help I needed.

You don't have to do this hard bit all by yourself. There are professionals that are trained to help.

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What To Watch For

Depression Warning Signs: What To Watch For @migrainesavvyDepression Warning Signs To Watch For

Some of visible depression warning signs to watch for include:

- regular headaches, migraines;

- excessive sleepiness, lethargy, social withdrawal;

- excessive weight loss;

- diminished mental capacity, loss of focus and concentration;

- prolonged sadness or grief.

Behavioral Depression Warning Signs

Each person will experience and exhibit different depression warning signs, so these lists may not include all of the possibilities or combinations of symptoms.

  • Loss of interest: A common indicator of depression is when a person withdraws socially and loses interest in the fun or necessary everyday activities that they used to perform easily. Many lose interest in sex and interacting with others that eventually lead to becoming completely unable to enjoy anything or experience simple pleasures in life.
  • Overly sensitive: Depressed people can develop a low tolerance of others and an over sensitivity where they can become easily offended by the words and actions of those around them. They become reactive, easy to anger or become irritable.
  • Social withdrawal: Low energy and low self esteem contributes to depressed people choosing to isolate themselves, not answer the phone, refuse activities and going out with friends and family. They become socially withdrawn.
  • Disregard of self: Severely depressed individuals don’t have the energy to take care of their own personal hygiene and can often become indifferent towards themselves and others. Watch for the same clothes being worn over and over, having a dirty and messy appearance is one of the most common and visible depression warning signs.

Physical Depression Warning Signs

  • Extreme weight gain or loss: People often go off their food when they are depressed commonly experiencing loss of appetite. Overeating is a common defense mechanism for comfort foods for many people. Under eating is also connected with depression and must be watched. Low blood sugar is proven to bring on a slump – so feeling down when not eating enough can be expected.
  • Fatigue and insomnia: Irregular sleeping patterns can develop from over sleeping and then having insomnia. Sleeping all day is a visible common trait for those experiencing depression. Alternatively, severely depressed people are prone to waking up very early in the morning and are not able to get back to sleep. This may also be the time of day when one’s spirits is at their lowest ebb and flow.
  • Aches and pains: Headaches, back aches, and pains in the face and neck are also common depression warning signs. Lack of movement, lethargy, can cause stiffness in the body, along with digestive issues, and other bowel movement problems.
  • Slowing down and loss of energy: Slowing down and loss of energy causes even minor daily chores to become impossible. Actions like walking and talking feel heavy and difficult. This is a visible trait to watch out for.
  • Personal appearance: Everything becomes an effort even minor things like taking care of your personal appearance and hygiene. Watch for messy hair (even though it’s the newest fashion), dirty clothes or same ones day after day and or staying in pajamas all day.
  • Constipation: Slowing down even affects parts of your unconscious body functioning. Bowel problems are common with lowered energy and activity levels.
  • Loss of sex drive: Lowered libido is common in both men and women who suffer from depression.
  • Loss of concentration: Forgetting things, paying attention or focusing becomes increasingly difficult. Quick decisions or remembering important events becomes impossible.

Emotional Depression Warning Signs

  • Sadness: This is the most obvious and one of the most common symptoms of depression. The melancholy is most likely to be persistent and may be accompanied by the tendency to cry a lot with or without a reason.
  • Overwhelming emotions: Feelings like crying all the time, every day, over the smallest thing. Easy to anger, feeling irritable or taking things personally and being offended and hurt is common in depressed individuals.
  • Guilt: Another typical symptom of depression is the feeling of guilt. Minor things can get blown out of proportion and cause overwhelming guilt and anxiety in people suffering from depression.
  • Unworthiness: Again overwhelming feelings along with guilt and anxiety, can plague people already suffering from depression. Many depressed people convince themselves that they are unworthy and can tend to lose their self-respect and ability to self soothe. This can also lead to self hate and self harming behaviors.
  • Morbid thoughts: The mind can create very negative thoughts and they can be easily focused on and grow levels of anxiety to significant proportions. People experiencing depression can have and create more depressing thoughts than normal and they can spiral downward easily if you don't stop the cycle. What might begin as a little thing, can grow and their personality slowly becomes very negative and pessimistic. Morbid thoughts then become the norm.

Migraine and Depression and Complete Despair

Depression can seem to have no cause (called “endogenous” literally meaning ‘created within’), or you may have an obvious cause – like chronic migraines - called “reactive” depression. Either way, depression can become severe at any stage.

If the symptoms I have mentioned above last a long time and become persistent, you may reach a point where it feels like there is no way out. The cause will play a part in how you cope and eventually overcome it. It can become a downward vicious cycle.

It is difficult to break this cycle on your own, especially with recurring severe debilitating migraine pain in your life, so please find a professional who can help you. Friends and family are good, but it really is an area for the trained professionals to handle more efficiently for you.

Please don’t let it reach levels of complete despair, severe depression can lead to suicide if left unattended. Let’s face it - recurring long term chronic migraines would depress even the most optimistic of people. We are not trained to deal with this level of constant pain and disruption in life in all areas that follows as a result, so getting some help is a smart move.

All you have to do is make it. The smart move that is! Click here for help right now.

In Crisis Mode? Get Help Now

Here are some more useful links for dealing with suicidal thoughts and depression... now that you know the depression warning signs:


  • Back from the Bluez - Coping with Depression - The Western Australia Department of Health, Center for Clinical Interventions (CCI) has a 9 module plan that is simple and straightforward. It includes pdf worksheets to print out.


  • Cognitive Behavior Self-Help Resources - this website has some amazing information on depression with a number of free downloadable worksheets using a CBT format to print out and use. The "depression thought record sheet" could be a very useful tool for you.

A Few More Things That Can Help

When I am feeling down I put on my earphones and listen to my favorite music for 5 minutes minimum. I sing and dance around and I always feel better after that.

If you are struggling to cope, here are some things that can help:

Until next time, be well and be pain free,


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How to be more migraine savvy right now...

Depression Warning Signs Reference: Priest, R. Prof (1983) Anxiety & Depression: A practical guide to recovery. Random House: UK.