What Does Depression Feel Like?

What does depression feel like

Sinking yet floating
Together yet apart

 

Living a sleep paralysis-
I want to move
But I can’t

 

I smile

I weep

At the void so deep

Yet, at all the almost I could lose

Damn, my alarm again went on snooze.

 

I stand behind that yellow line

I wish to be pushed down

Standing there cowardly

This too I leave undone.

Overview of Depression

“Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease”- WHO

We all have our phases of feeling sad or overwhelmed by daily challenges of life including difficult relationships, long working hours and daily struggles.

But, depression is much more severe and more prolonged affecting our daily functioning- like changes in appetite, sleep, energy/lethargy and pervasive feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. It starts affecting work and personal relationships. Sometimes, accompanied by thoughts for suicide.

Symptoms of Depression

People going through depression may have some or many of the following symptoms-

  • Feeling tired/Less Energy
  • Less Eating or Over-eating
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Lack of interest in activities/hobbies that were previously enjoyed
  • Excessive sleeping/Insomnia/Difficulty sleeping/early-morning waking
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of focus/Inability to concentrate
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Persistent irritability
  • digestive problems, frequent headaches/aches with no relief from medications

So we see that there is no ONE template or criteria for symptoms that apply to ALL people suffering from depression. Few can experience 2-3 of them and some can experience the majority of the symptoms stated above.

To be clinically diagnosed, the presence of some of them is necessary for atleast 2 weeks.

Types of Depression-
  • Dysthymia– Some symptoms of depression may be present for atleast 2 years, with major episodes of depression
  • Major Depressive Disorder– Person experiencing some of the symptoms atleast every other day for 2 weeks.
  • Bipolar Disorder– A person suffering from Bipolar experiences symptoms similar to Major Depressive Disorder, at the same time has a mania phase- characterised by extreme highs, excitement, and energy.
  • Postpartum depression– Women experience major depressive symptoms during and after their babies are born. This disables them to even take care of themselves during the period
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder– With the onset of winters, some people experience low moods characterized by low energy, weight loss, reduced sleep. The symptoms fade out with the arrival of spring.
Causes of Depression

There are 3 risk factors associated with depression-

  • Family/Personal history of depression
  • Presence of chronic illnesses or medications
  • Major life change, stress or trauma

Therefore, depression can be a combination of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors.

A major life change (Divorce) and trauma (Grief, or Breakup)  may not affect two people in the same way due to their differences in biological predisposition and coping mechanisms.

It can affect any age-group, starting from young adolescent to old age.

Treatment for depression

Medication

Medication becomes necessary since Clinical Depression involves bio-chemical changes that contribute/reinforces emotions and thoughts. It needs to be taken under close supervision of a medical professional and high monitoring is needed.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy in cases of clinical depression helps a person give a safe space to talk about their difficult thoughts and feelings. A therapist can help break the pattern of thoughts and modify their self-defeating beliefs and values.

Things you can do to feel better

  • Be physically active and exercise
  • Get Social Support
  • Acknowledge your small efforts to combat depression
  • Be kind to yourself, as you would be to your younger self
  • Break your tasks into smaller goals, and try accomplishing them

 

Depression is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you were trying to be strong for too long

-Sigmund Freud

 

Reference- https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml#pub5

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