Recently I saw Tom*, who has been having a difficult time for the past year, particularly for the past six months.
"Michael, I just haven't got the same amount of steam I usually have, and my sleep is terrible," Tom says. He was having a particularly bad time at work, being bullied by his manager, making more and more demands on him and being critical of his work. "This made things bad, but when I talked with my wife, we agreed that it's actually been tracking downhill for the past 2 years, well before troubles at work. "
Now, while he loves his work, it does not give him the same amount of satisfaction. He finds it difficult to fall asleep, and wakes up at 3 am, thinking about things that needs to be done. He has a lot of things that needs to be checked off, but has been procrastinating - very unlike him. His sex life has taken a hit too - "I want to be intimate...but I just can't be bothered. I don't have the same motivation as I used to."
Tom describes himself as a happily married man in his 60s, with children and grand children, a job he is very good at and has always enjoyed, with no financial or social worries. Which makes him very puzzled, "because I have nothing to be stressed or worried about. The issues with my manager have been sorted, and life should be good," he told me.
There is a family history of depression, and after we discussed the issues he's been having with his life, we come to the conclusion that he is depressed.
If you feel you may be in a similar boat, ask yourself these question.
Are you depressed:
1. How is your sleep? Too much or not enough can be a sign.
2. Do you feel more tired than usual?
4. Motivation - how is the drive to do things and finish tasks?
5. Concentration - mind wandering, or losing focus?
6. Have you been feeling sad and low more than usual?
7. How's your sex life?
8. Has your confidence about yourself been affected?
9. Do you have the same satisfaction with activities you usually enjoy?
These can hint at symptoms of depression.
*Name and demographics have been changed to protect the patient's identity.