I’ve gone through a lot in my life it’s never been to a point where I can reflect and begin to worry. But ever since I stopped smoking weed a few years back due to smoking-induced panic attacks/anxiety I feel as if everything has changed. I feel like pre-existing anxiety got worse (social/general) I can’t get out of bed till like 4 pm I lose all my drive I cant sleep I get sad and constantly reflect and think. This goes away for a time and I begin to go back to usual but then it comes back I know having a purpose helps but when I got a job a few months back I felt better than ever and as if everything was great and then all the sudden it came back not sleeping, anxiety, sadness, avoidance having no drive etc. I’ve noticed this for a while but it’s only till recently I’ve really noticed this starting to affect me. As a side note social anxiety really affects me I regularly chew gum because when I get anxious my lips start to shake uncontrollably and I go into a panic because I feel as if I look crazy. I know this seems all over the place but it’s hard to summarize a lot of the things I’ve experienced the last two years and I’m looking forward to hearing someone’s point of view. (From Canada)
I think you are asking a good question. Whenever we look at a pattern of behavior and ask ourselves if it is serving us well or if it is a collection of symptoms that point toward a label identifying our pain, I think this is important self-reflection. Whatever the answer the question is a good, important one.
The best place to start is with an understanding of how depression is classified. Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Disengaged, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting)
- Insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Anxiety-related physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Loss of meaning or purpose, feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
From what you’ve written it seems like smoking weed was a type of self-medication that helped to mask the symptoms. Now that it is gone they have re-emerged. I think what makes the most sense for you is to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or clinical psychologist. The first two can do an evaluation and screening for depression and make recommendations for medicine. A clinical psychologist can offer an evaluation that can help make a definitive diagnosis.
In the meantime, you can take this assessment tool here at LifeHelper and learn more about depression here.
Wishing you patience and peace,