How Does Depression Feel? Symptoms and Manifestations Explained
Depression is a mood disorder known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It causes an individual to experience constant sadness and loss of interest in usual and previously satisfying activities. Depression has many effects and influences how someone thinks, feels, and behaves. It can lead to various physical and emotional problems.
For instance, some people may experience trouble doing day-to-day activities. They may also feel like life isn’t worth living. Depression isn’t just about the blues. It’s not a weakness that they can snap out of. Often, the condition requires long-term treatment. Therefore, it is important to understand what symptoms depict not just sadness but actual depression and when to seek professional help.
Below, you will find a detailed explanation of standard depression symptoms. There is also a review of common thoughts and behaviors that may represent a high possibility of having a depressive disorder.
Seeking help is not about weakness — you can overcome depression faster and more effectively with professional support.
What Does Depression Feel Like: Common Symptoms
No two individuals feeling depressed share an identical set of symptoms. But chances are high that they share a similar overall experience. This may include changes in emotional state and life attitude, sleeping, working, eating habits, etc. People with depression have a range of symptoms that medical professionals could use to determine their depressive state.
It’s vital to note that some individuals’ symptoms build over time while in others, the disorder begins suddenly. Still, according to the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), to be diagnosed with the condition, a person must have experienced depressive symptoms for over two weeks. He or she may experience some or all of the symptoms mentioned below during a depressive episode.
- Persistent anxiety and empty or sad mood.
- Feeling frustrated, irritable, or restless.
- Feeling pessimistic or hopeless.
- Feeling worthless, guilty, or helpless.
- Losing pleasure or interest in activities or hobbies.
- Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions.
- Fatigue, decreased energy, and feeling slowed down.
- Difficulty waking early in the morning, insomnia, or oversleeping.
- Unplanned weight changes or changes in appetite.
- Chronic pain, cramps, headaches, or digestive problems. These could appear without physical issues and won’t subside even with appropriate treatment until depression is managed.
- Suicide attempts or thoughts of death.
There are many treatments for depression, let’s define which one will help you best.
What Does a Depressive Episode Feel Like?
People usually ask how depression feels to know they are not alone in their experience. Some responses explaining depression include:
- Feeling like a heavy weight is placed on their chest.
- Feeling worthless even when receiving praise.
- Feeling lonely when seeing couples and families.
- Feeling like a failure.
- Experiencing severe anxiety.
- Being unable to take care of their family.
- Not being able to take care of themselves.
- Willing to hide their true emotions and feelings.
Depression makes affected individuals feel like they’ve been robbed of people and things they once loved. He or she feels like any activity they participate in won’t make them happy again.
Additionally, the condition makes it difficult for them to focus or make any proper decisions. People who suffer from depression describe the feeling as mental fog and cannot think clearly because of everything happening around them.
Others feel like they can’t find a way out. Everything they do feels hopeless, leading to a feeling of worthlessness or failure. More severe cases of this condition can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.
Another major symptom experienced by depressed individuals is a change in their sleep patterns. For instance, he or she can have trouble staying asleep, falling asleep, or feel tired when awake despite having adequate sleep. This can cause them to feel exhausted or have low energy, which results in difficulty performing daily activities or just getting out of bed.
How to Explain Depression: Modern Digital Solutions
It can be difficult for individuals who’ve never experienced depression to imagine how challenging the issue is. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance created an immersive online program to help people get a first-person experience of having this mood disorder. (Avoid visiting the website when feeling down, being depressed, or having had a hard time treating depression recently. This online experience may trigger distress.) The program takes just a couple of minutes to complete and represents how a depressed person thinks, how negative self-talk impacts their ability to make rational decisions, and how depression can make it difficult to do even simple daily tasks. After having such a virtual experience, you may better understand the feelings of a depressed person and support them more.
In addition to such specific programs, the digital world allows people to take science-backed depression tests online. It can help reflect on your symptoms and analyze your mental state, identify the risks of having depression, and consider seeking help if the risks are high. For example, you can take a depression test based on the Beck Depression Inventory and other questionnaires and see the results in a few minutes.
Various people experience depression differently. The symptoms could look different as well, depending on the severity of the condition. Most individuals can notice the symptoms stated above, and it’s vital to consult a licensed physician for a proper diagnosis, treatment, and medicine.