In today’s ever-changing post-pandemic world, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions as life somewhat returns to what it used to be. For many people, post-COVID changes — such as returning to work, or kids returning to school — can create high levels of stress.
It’s important to know whether your stress levels are normal, or could be a sign of something more serious, like depression. Here, we’ll take a look at some questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it’s time to chat with a virtual doctor about your mental health symptoms.
1. Are you struggling to find pleasure in everyday activities?
It’s normal to have a down day from time to time, but if you find that the things that used to make you happy aren’t bringing you joy, it’s possible that you may be depressed. Most people find that they get a mood boost after eating good food, participating in exercise, or spending time with loved ones. If you struggle to find activities that make you feel good, it may be time to talk to your doctor about treatment for depression.
2. Have you been moving more slowly or more quickly than normal?
Changes in the pace of your daily activities can signify problems with chemicals in the brain. If you find that it takes you far longer to do normal activities, or if others have noticed that you’re struggling to keep up, it may be a sign that you’re experiencing depression.
Going too fast can also be a sign that you’re having chemical issues. Be sure to mention to your doctor if you’re speeding through daily activities sometimes while struggling to keep up on other days. Most people with balanced brain chemistry find that they’re able to keep a fairly even pace from day to day. Going too fast or too slow doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you as a person — it simply may mean that there’s a brain chemistry issue that can be easily remedied.
3. Are you struggling to keep up with activities of daily living?
It’s normal to feel embarrassed if normal activities of daily living leave you feeling exhausted. If you’re having trouble showering, keeping up with personal grooming, cleaning, preparing meals, and making/attending appointments with your doctor or your dentist, it may be a sign that something is off.
4. Has your performance at work or school declined?
Changes in your work or school performance can indicate issues with your brain chemistry. If you find that you’re struggling to keep up with your normal workload, or that your performance reviews or grades are slipping, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may also want to talk with your boss or school administrator to let them know what’s going on. While it can be tough to discuss mental health at school or in the workplace, the stigma has changed hugely in the last few years, and you’ll likely find that those in charge are quite receptive to accommodating mental health needs.
5. Do you feel hopeless, or like things will never get better?
It’s normal to go through periods of sadness from time to time, but if you find that you feel hopeless or down for two weeks or more, it’s time to talk to your doctor about treatment. It’s not normal to feel sad for extended periods, and a combination of mediation and therapy can help you get back on track.
Please note: regardless of your answers to the questions above, if you have thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself or others, please call 911 or go to your local emergency room for help.
Reaching Out For Help
It can be tough to reach out for help with depression. Many people who are living with depression get trapped in a mental loop — they feel like they should be able to talk or work their way out of the cycle of negative thinking. For people who are clinically depressed, this isn’t usually possible. A chemical imbalance exists in the brain, just like a chemical imbalance exists in the body during periods of physical illness.
Thankfully, if you’re experiencing depression, medication can help. Reach out to a doctor today to learn more about how a combination of therapy and antidepressant medications can help you get your life back, one day at a time.