It’s easy to feel tired these days. Between the pandemic and getting a bit older, it might be hard to get up and go the way you used to.
But there can be a fine line between fatigue and depression.
Sleep shortens with age. Research also suggests the pandemic has made it harder to sleep. Sleep lost to the pandemic, however, may be a result of anxiety.
Depression can be more common as people age, yet it may be less recognizable. Many older adults believe symptoms are related to something else, or “natural” aging, or fail to believe that it is mental health bogging them down.
Those who do acknowledge their depression are more likely to believe they will just “snap out of it.”
But things can spiral rather quickly as those feelings become normalized. Without action, depression can pose threats to both physical and mental health.
How can you recognize if you’re experiencing depression and not just regular fatigue from a lack of sleep? Here are some of the signs:
- You no longer get enjoyment from your favorite activities
- Persistent sadness, or an “empty” mood
- Increased boredom/apathy
- Lost energy
- Regular fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Unintentional weight gain/loss
You may be able to manage or do away with symptoms on your own. Some individuals can make small changes to their lives—like creating a schedule, reaching out to friends or family, adopting a hobby, or getting involved in a group—and notice symptoms disappear.
Each of the above can give life meaning and joy.
Other things you can try are mindfulness meditation or talking to an online psychotherapist.
There are a variety of resources to help you get through this and restore hope and energy to your life.
It’s also particularly important to listen to the people who know you best because they might be able to recognize changes in your behavior. If they suggest you seem off, take a look at your mental health.
Mat Lecompte is a freelance health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.