What Does Depression Feel Like What Does Depression Feel Like

Navigating the Depths: Understanding the Experience of Depression

Whenever a person goes through a bad time, they usually wonder, what does depression feel like? The bad times generally force our minds to ask these questions. Life events can take unexpected turns; our feelings follow that same path, too. And it’s our feelings that make us question ourselves, “Is it worth it?”.

Feeling low and depressed has become more common in this fast-paced world. We are so into earning ourselves a fortune that we sometimes go too far.

Then, a sudden disappointment comes, and we feel broken from the inside. It feels like all we did in the past was make wrong decisions. We feel regret, which ultimately leads to stress and sadness. It’s a vicious loop.

Keeping the discussion in mind, let’s further elaborate on that. Moreover, the actual solution to feeling depressed would also be discussed.

1. Diagnosis of Depression

First, you should know whether you are suffering from depression or it’s just sadness. There are some parameters to decide whether your feeling of sorrow is depression or not.

1.1 Lost in Appetite

Probably the most visible litmus test for depression is loss of appetite.1 A sudden loss in appetite is often related to mental health. If this loss in appetite prolongs, it may be a sign of depression.

This, coupled with other things, shows signs of depression. It is common for teenagers to eat less sometimes. But if they suffer from depression symptoms, it is usually highlighted.

1.2 Feeling of Hopelessness

man sitting on chair covering his eyes
By christopher lemercier/ Unsplash copyrights 2018

Probably, a person who’s suffering from depression feels that there’s nothing right they can do. It’s a bottomless rabbit hole. A person feels like whatever they do is useless because, in the end, they will fail.

Whatever they do, they have a negative outlook. This leads to poor decision-making. Hence, due to wrong decisions, everything goes downhill in their life.

The thought of being the unluckiest human in the world lured into their heads. They begin to cut out from the world and isolate themselves. This should be avoided, but people care less and less about it.

1.3 The World of Anxiety

Feeling anxious sometimes is not at all concerning. More often than not, it’s short-lived. But when this becomes more frequent, it’s a bad sign. Anxiety attacks 2are the most common among depressed people.

However, some are prone to anxiety more than others. But a depressed person feels anxious about even walking out of their home. Anxiety is identified with increased heartbeat, uncontrollable trembling3, heavy breathing, and cloudy thinking.

1.4 Insomnia

what does depression feel like
By Megan te Boekhorst/ Unsplash copyrights 2018

Probably the most related fact to depression is lack of sleep. When a person is depressed, their mind is flushed with thoughts. These thoughts are most prevalent at night and are often not so good.

These thoughts are filled with past regrets and, worst of all, memories.  And the fun fact is, our brains crave4 these thoughts. It forces us to wrap our heads around the insignificant things.

Due to that, a depressed person is often left wondering about these thoughts. Due to that, time flies, and before they know it, it’s already morning.

That means they have to go to work sleepless. Which in turn leads to heavy dark circles under the eyes. Due to not getting proper rest, their brain becomes cloudy, and they are constantly drained of energy.

1.5 Looking Out for Death

The effects mentioned above become fatal if continued for a long time. As people feel no hope, they start losing their will to live. This ultimately forces them to take their own lives. This fact is common in most teenagers.

Due to incomplete knowledge of how the world works, they are left with no choice. Among the teenagers, the neglected ones are the most vulnerable. However, suicide is never an option, but a depressed person finds it otherwise.

2. Different Types of Depression

The feeling of hopelessness is common among depressed people; there are some differences. These are all related to different causes.

Some might be short-lived, while others may pose a long-term threat. Let’s explore the types further.

2.1 Major/Clinical Depression Disorder

Major depression is also known as clinical/unipolar depression. This disorder is characterized by more than two weeks of prolonged depressed feeling.

It is the most common type of depression out there. A person suffering from this seems sad more than 5 days a week. Irrespective of whether they are being praised, they feel worthless. This type of severe depression has various further subtypes.

  1. Melancholia: This type of depression is characterized by physical symptoms. A person is always tired, doesn’t like to move, and is never interested in going out.
  2. Psychotic Depression: Its symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. A person suffering from this often sees things that are not there. The part of the brain that differentiates imagination from reality is troubled in that person.
  3. Prenatal and postnatal depression: Prenatal occurs during pregnancy. At the same time, postnatal occurs within three months of childbirth. Usually, the mother is constantly concerned about the welfare of their baby. Paranoia 5 is a common symptom.

2.2 Bipolar Disorder

This is a weird type of condition. A person goes completely out of their character sometimes, but other times, they are completely fine. Depression occurs in periods of mania.

This type of depression becomes dangerous as the person seems fine most of the time. So, they think nothing of it and never consult. But over time, when the symptoms accumulate, a person can lose touch with what’s happening in real life.

Causes of bipolar disorder can be anything from family history to stress triggered. It can be mistaken for ADHD, but this disorder is completely different. Sometimes, it is within a person’s genes. Usually, it starts with experiencing the extremes of your mood every other day.

2.3 Cyclothymic Disorder

Another disorder identical to Bipolar is Cyclothymic disorder. Usually, this disorder is a mild stage of Bipolar disorder.

The symptoms here are milder than Bipolar. A person still experiences periods of mania, but they are spaced out greatly. Usually, a person can feel normal for up to 2 months. Hence, it is difficult to detect. It is advised to consult a doctor if you have even a small doubt.

2.4 Seasonal Affective Disorder

This disorder is related to the changing of seasons. If you feel different in winters and in summers over 3-4 years, you probably have SAD. The symptoms here are the same as depression, namely not eating too much, lack of sleep, always tires, etc.

But it is always seasonal. Usually, a person feels depressed in winter and a little energetic in summer. It is seen that this type of disease is common in countries with extremely cold winters. Darkness persists throughout the day and affects people’s minds.

3. What Does Depression Feel Like?

What Does Depression Feel Like
By Paul Volkmer/ Unsplash copyrights 2017

Now that you know the diagnosis and types of depression, let’s proceed further.

Imagine yourself suddenly waking up in a dark room. You can’t see anything. There’s darkness everywhere. Your visibility is nearly zero, and you can’t even see your body.  You don’t know what to do, and your heart beats out of your chest. You feel anxious and hopeless and cry. Even if there’s a way out, you remain sad, and your thinking is clouded.

That’s what a depressed person feels like. Depression is like the infinite darkness that’s there in the universe. Even if there are stars of hope like the sun, bright enough to light up Earth, the darkness still overpowers.

There are an infinite number of galaxies of happiness, but still, 97% of the universe is dark. The universe is perfectly relatable to a depressed person’s mind. The dark matter in the universe is all the doubts that persist in their mind. Even if there are infinite ways to be happy around them, they are broken and hopeless from the inside.

4. There’s Always a Way Out

There’s always a door out of a dark room. Similarly, there’s always a way out of depression. You have to relax for once, take a break, and then search for it.

Even if there’s sadness of dark matter everywhere, try to explore a galaxy of happiness. Try to go deep into that galaxy and find your way to live inside it. Just like the darkness manipulated its way inside your head, manipulate your mind to be happy.

And when you learned to be happy again and live inside it, now try to look into the dark matter. Try to see what the main problem was. And make sure that depression can’t ever make its way again in your life.

Empowering Connections: Nurturing Social Networks for Mental Well-being

Christina Will Spears, a Life coach, provides insights into how relationships can be a source of strength in managing depression:

“In my experience, having supportive social networks has a major positive impact on mental health [in general]. The emotional support and sense of belonging that human interaction provides are essential to counteract the isolating effects of depression.

My dedication to encouraging self-empowerment is consistent with the idea that [having healthy relationships] is essential. Creating a strong support system enables people to overcome the obstacles of depression and reclaim their lives.

Emotional resilience is based on personal interactions with partners, family, and friends.

They establish a secure environment that promotes empathy, candid dialogue, and sharing of experiences—all essential elements in managing mental health issues.

Relationships that foster open communication make it easier for people to feel heard, respected and understood.

In closing, I stress the critical role that fostering social relationships plays in managing persistent depression, building on my experience as a life coach.

These relationships greatly enhance mental health by providing support, empathy, and encouragement.”

christina will spears
Christina Will Spears

5. Try to Get Help

What Does Depression Feel Like
By Unsplash+/Unsplash copyrights 2022

Now, let’s accept that getting help is the most important thing. People usually are scared to ask for help. They think that people would judge them.

But it is crucial to get someone’s point of view when you are depressed. It is vital as, in your mind, you might be doing everything poorly. But when viewed from the outside, it’s not as bad as you think.

This helps you to break the bubble that you made around yourself. Even if there’s someone to listen to what you have to say, it helps manifold. There’s a reason why a human is a social animal. We thrive when we are living in a society.

6. Ways to Counter Depression

Let’s learn how to come out of that depressed phase.

6.1 Ask for Help

Never refrain from asking for help. There are many government helplines. Also, try to talk to your friends more and keep them around you.

Isolation is probably the best friend of depression. It elevates it. Your depressed feelings would suddenly reduce once you start hanging out with people. Someone to talk to is probably the best gift ever.

6.2 Seek Medical Help

There’s a reason why psychiatrists exist. Some things can’t be resolved with home remedies. You need to take some medicine to counter depression.

Some medicines calm you down. Just like you take medicine for a fever, depression is no different. So, try to see a doctor if there’s something you are not feeling right about.

6.3 Take up a Hobby

Do that, even if it’s as simple as a morning or an evening walk. Play any sport that involves physical work. At the day’s end, if you are tired, you would rather fall asleep than overthink.

Morning walks can help you rejuvenate yourself. The beautiful smell of the flowers in a park can probably elate your mood.

Simplified Living: Strategies for Balance and Growth in Life

Wendy Cary, a Wellbeing Coach to Leaders, shares strategies for physical well-being and their impact on mental health:

“The first strategy I recommend is [to eliminate] as many people, commitments, and things as possible from your life. Automate things.

Find a lifestyle strategy that works for you (Minimalism, Slow Living, Lean Living, Kon Mari, Hygge, Utilitarianism, etc.), then maintain the status quo until you are no longer overwhelmed by life.

The next step is to understand what you are “responsible for” vs. “responsible for.” A person is only “responsible for” themself. For anything else, they are “responsible too.” You’re responsible to your friends to let them know they’ve drunk too much alcohol to drive. You’re not responsible for your friend’s actions.

Letting go of responsibility that doesn’t belong to you is very freeing. Third, start keeping your promises to yourself. This is the basis of self-respect and self-love. Many times, depression starts with shame.

Keeping your promises to yourself helps you let go of shame. Finally, develop a Growth Mindset. Learn from your mistakes instead of beating yourself up about them. Make a plan for personal and professional growth or to learn a new hobby.

Celebrate your growth and development, bringing happiness, satisfaction, and pride into your life experience.”

Wendy Cary
Wendy Cary

7. Conclusion

We have discussed in depth how depression feels like. We have also discussed the remedies and diagnosis of depression. Let’s end on a high note. There’s a saying that good always prevails no matter how powerful the enemy is.

Depression is a disease caused by today’s fast-paced world. If it is caused, then surely it can be conquered, whether it’s by medicines or by changing our lifestyle. Slowing your mind down and analyzing things is still at the pinnacle of problem-solving.

Guest Author: Saket Kumar

  1. Hintze, Luzia Jaeger, et al. “Weight loss and appetite control in women.” Current obesity reports 6 (2017): 334-351. ↩︎
  2. Langford, William S. “Anxiety attacks in children.” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 7.2 (1937): 210. ↩︎
  3. Kudrnáčová, Naděžda. “On Trembling and Quivering.” Anglica Wratislaviensia 42.2004 (2004): 131-144. ↩︎
  4. Sun, Yueji, et al. “Brain fMRI study of crave induced by cue pictures in online game addicts (male adolescents).” Behavioural brain research 233.2 (2012): 563-576. ↩︎
  5. Mirowsky, John, and Catherine E. Ross. “Paranoia and the structure of powerlessness.” American Sociological Review (1983): 228-239. ↩︎

Last Updated on February 29, 2024 by Sathi Chakraborty

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