Numb. Disconnected. Not interested. Tired. Upset. Drained.
These are just a few of the words that describe how I have been feeling lately. I am in the process of coming out of an unusually bad depression spell, one that has lasted for about three weeks now. It never goes away completely of course, and I’ve struggled with depression for years. But I am hoping that starting this blog will help me to get through my ups and downs with depression and other issues. And maybe encourage some others along the way.
What does depression feel like?
You may be asking this to find out if what you are experiencing is “normal”, or wanting to better understand how someone you know is feeling. Keep in mind that how each person feels when they are depressed is going to vary greatly. Everyone experiences it in their own unique way. Symptoms can fluctuate simply depending on the day and the intensity varies from mild, moderate, or severe. This, though, is an idea of some common things that people with depression experience.
Depression can make it incredibly difficult to concentrate. It feels sometimes as if your brain isn’t even there or working. If someone asks, “How are you feeling today?” you might not have an answer for them, you don’t even know how you’re feeling! Or maybe you have a vague idea but trying to find the words to describe it is nearly impossible. It’s as if you can sense all of the words floating around in your brain but you can’t catch any of them and put them to use. Making decisions not only takes way more effort than you’d like but you don’t care enough to think about it and if you did, your brain wouldn’t work enough to come up with an answer. All of this can be very frustrating.
Back to the “How are you feeling today?” question. When you’re depressed, the smallest things, like someone asking how you are, can irritate you beyond belief! Things like hearing a fork scraping a dinner plate, or not having milk in the fridge when you really wanted cereal, or your mom saying good morning can make you want to scream , cry, or explode. Or maybe all three at once. Last week I started crying at dinner because I couldn’t stand listening to my parents chewing. Sounds stupid but it drives me crazy.
“I’m so tired”
Now, I’ve never slept well, it’s always taken me a few hours of laying in bed to fall asleep, even when I was little, but depression makes this worse. During the last three weeks or so my sleep schedule has been really messed up. Not falling asleep until 5 am one night and waking up at that time the next. I can sleep for 14 hours one day and only 2 on another, despite trying everything I know to help me sleep better. You feel like no matter how much you sleep you are always tired, wake up tired, spend the day exhausted, lay awake in bed for hours tired. Depression interferes with how you sleep. Unfortunately lack of sleep also greatly contributes to the severity of your depression, so it can become an awful, vicious cycle.
Lack of Energy
In addition to sleep problems, having no energy is a major part of depression. Even small things can seem overwhelming, getting dressed, taking a shower, conversing with someone, doing your makeup, the list goes on. Daily activities that the majority of the population do without thinking twice become a full time job for you. It’s as if you are given a certain number of energy points for each day, and because you have depression you are given significantly less than others. And every time you do anything you use one of those points. Got out of bed? 1 point gone. Washed your hair? 1 point gone. Got dressed, ate breakfast, and fed the dog? 3 points gone! And you may only have received 5 points for the whole day and have to go to back to bed!
Struggling with this can make you appear lazy to anyone watching. For example, I will wake up and then spend the entire day hiding in my room, not talking to anyone, browsing the internet, sleeping and occasionally coming out to use the bathroom. To anyone observing this I probably appear like an incredibly unmotivated teenager with no life and who doesn’t care. While this is all pretty true, I do not WANT it! If I could choose to be happy and motivated and to care, I would. But I have absolutely no energy to do anything else. I will spend countless hours watching episodes of Doctor Who and searching pinterest haha but when I’m depressed I don’t really have an interest in it… it is simply a distraction from the “real world” because life feels too awful, overwhelming, and hard to face or think about.
Loss of Interest
Did you once enjoy picking up your guitar and playing. Or baking? Or hanging out with friends? And now you don’t care to even touch the guitar or cook anything and you haven’t called or texted any of your friends in weeks, much less seen them? I know the feeling. Depression creeps in and pushes out any interests or hobbies you may have once had. Instead you are left with an empty feeling of not caring. You may feel numb, dead, disconnected from yourself and everyone else. This can takes its toll of relationships. Once you were the “fun friend” the person always doing things and making people laugh, now though, smiles are forced and you make excuses as to why you can’t go out with your friends. You know that you should care about doing things but you just don’t. When I’m at a low point with my depression I go from talking to my boyfriend everyday all day long to just not being able to because it takes too much effort to even text him. At some point you don’t even care about getting better because being miserable is simply easier.
Depression twists things. It affects how your brain works and views things. It reminds you of every stupid or bad thing you’ve ever done and tells you that because of that, you are a horrible person. And you wholeheartedly believe it. You hate yourself and who you are. Everything is black and white, good or bad. You become overly critical of yourself. Thoughts that everyone would be better of without you or of suicide work their way in. Life feels like too much of a struggle and doesn’t seem worth it because you can’t see it every changing or ever getting better. Depression is like a hole that digs itself deeper and deeper making it seem impossible to get out of. Logically you may even recognize that what you’re thinking isn’t really true but you can’t seem to make your brain understand that.
Changes in Eating
Normally when I am depressed I don’t eat. Food doesn’t taste good or appeal to me and it takes too much effort to make. Lately though, this has switched, over the last few weeks I have eaten much more than usual because food was distracting from the mental pain and made me feel something for just a little while. Changes in appetite, whether it is emotional eating to fill a void, or eating less due to lack of interest, are a very common result of being depressed.
This is obviously not a complete list of everything that someone with depression feels, but it does cover the main majority of symptoms based off of my own experience and research. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone going through this or who knows someone who is. If not, writing about it is at least something that helps me. I will be posting more positive articles on how to deal with all of these different things and what I’ve found works to make me feel better.
Thanks for reading! (:
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