Letter to the Editor: Submitted by Mark Jacobson

To the Editor:

It can be difficult to watch someone struggle with their mental health, and it can be equally difficult to experience your own mental health struggles. Here are some common symptoms of depression to watch out for.

Difficulty Getting Out Of Bed. It’s perfectly normal to enjoy sleeping in or spending time in bed. However, if it has become difficult to find the motivation to get out of bed or get ready in the morning, this could be a sign of depression. Depression can make us feel fatigued and physically drained to the point where even small tasks, like getting up in the morning or taking a shower, can feel exhausting.

Changes In Sleep Habits. The physical and mental exhaustion that comes with depression can also affect our sleeping habits. Changes in sleep can show up in a number of ways. Sometimes this means sleeping throughout the day, using sleep as a way to pass the time or preferring sleep to other daily activities. Sleep changes can also create bouts of insomnia, which can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. Missing out on quality, restful sleep can increase our anxiety levels and intensify feelings of depression.

Changes In Appetite. Our appetite and eating habits can also be impacted by depression. Some people may experience an increased appetite, while others have less of an appetite or may not be hungry at all. Sleeping habits may also change the way you eat. This is because sleep helps regulate our hunger hormones, which help to keep us from over- or undereating.

Persistent Irritability Or Mood Swings. Depression can cause us to experience outbursts and mood swings. One minute we’re angry, the next we’re crying uncontrollably or shutting down. When someone is struggling with depression, changes in mood can switch in a moment’s notice. If you notice a pattern of irritability or mood swings that last more than a few days, it may be linked to depression.

Self-Harm And Self-Injury. When anxiety or depression create overwhelming emotions, some people may turn to self-harm in search of relief. Typically when people engage in self-harming behaviors, they do not do so in an attempt to commit suicide, but rather as a way to manage painful emotions. Because self-harm is highly stigmatized, it can be hard for people who self-harm to get help.

Difficulty Experiencing Connection. When we find that we are no longer enjoying or finding pleasure in the things we used to enjoy, this can be a sign of depression. In some cases people may also isolate themselves from close friends, family members and others who care about them, which can perpetuate the feelings of hopelessness and symptoms of depression.

If you, or someone you love, are struggling with depression, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional and get the help you need. If you would like additional support, I may be reached by letter at 559 W. Broadway Street, Winona, MN 55987 or by email at gottahavehope38@gmail.com.

Respectfully submitted,
Mark Jacobson
Peer Support Specialist
Winona, MN