Simply from an ever-active, almost never depressed individual like me, you may never find out how depression feels like. Have you ever been depressed? Before you think that I am really a 'never depressed' individual, yes! everyone has experienced how depression feels at some point in their lives.
Just like other mood changes like happiness, joy, sadness, etc, depression is a mood. But in addition to depression being a mood, it is an extreme abnormal mood change, abnormal in the sense that it resists the cushioning effects of such other external factors that should normally restore normalcy.
For example, you are lying sadly in your house because you do not have much money to execute some of your plans/desires, and there is no place for you to get the money you desire at such time. But then, your mood at that moment is determined by the external factor of insufficient funds to carry out your plans. However, what would happen if I give you a whopping sum that far overshadows all your wants at that particular instance? You are right, you should feel better. Wasn't that what you thought?
However, in depression, the individual or the patient (because depression is a medical condition) remains in a low state irrespective of the nature of the external factors around him/her. Before we fully hear the experiences of certain people who have been chronically depressed at some point, would it not be fair to look at some possible triggers of depression?
What Triggers/Causes Depression?
For uncertain reasons, depression is more in white communities than in blacks. Possible, yet unconfirmed explanations could include the following:
- The blacks living in some of the hottest climates in the world have a higher activity and resilience.
- The bond of families to cushion depression may be stronger in black communities.
- Finally, some symptoms considered as depression may not be classified as such in many black communities.
- Trauma - Emotional, physical or psychological
- Medical conditions
- Chronic illness
- Drugs and drug abuse
Now, how or what does depression feel like?
What Does Depression Feel Like?
I stumbled across a question on Reddit when someone asked about what depression feels like. See the screenshot below:
The person who asked the question stated that he was curious to find out what the day-to-day feelings of someone who has had any level of depression are, what they think and the mental processes that go on in their head.
He included the following edits in the question;
- There seem to be two distinctions - complete emotional numbness, and emotional despair. Is this normal, or am I seeing something that isn't there?
- Is suicide a prevalent thought, or just in the background noise among the other thoughts of being stuck/overwhelmed?
- It looks like recovery is started by essentially winning a battle over yourself to break the cycle. Is this just something that is helped externally, or is it just a hump you need to reach on your own?
- Once recovery starts, is it like a switch or is it a slow battle?
Edit 2: I really am reading through all the replies. I've never really experienced depression and the mindset described is horrible and fascinating - the closest I've come to how much people seem to relay depression is when I'm severely sleep-deprived and everything is covered in a slow dark fog.
Edit 3: Not sure why this has a pretty high amount of downvotes (23%)... I'm glad this is getting attention because I feel a lot of people, myself included, don't really understand and thus have no frame of reference to empathize with our friends and family who suffer from depression.
- Disinterestedness in things you once loved
- Wishing never to have existed
- Suicidal thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Hopelessness/refusal of any help to come out of that state
Disinterestedness In Things You Once Loved
"Not wanting to do anything, not wanting to be anything,...",
"I thought about watching a movie tonight, but it was too much work".
Wishing Never To Have Existed
"I don't necessarily want to die. I just want to have never existed",
"This is me. I don't want to die and hurt my siblings. I feel like it would be easier for everyone if I just was never born","...until I noticed myself wishing that nothing loved me so I wouldn't feel obligated to keep existing", "This exactly. I've been suicidal before but honestly that doesn't hurt as much as the part where I wish I was just never born","Yeah, just... You nailed it. If it wasn't a primal instinct to pack up and keep driving until I ran out of gas and money, it was an overwhelming desire to stop existing".
Lack of Motivation
"I call it the low.It's like dragging yourself through calve deep mud with no energy; you can move forward, but the effort just seems more and more taxing until you just want to sit down and stop walking. Then, you wallow".
"Jesus, this is eerily accurate. Except the mud feels like quicksand but you want to give in anyway".
Hopelessness/Refusal of Any Help to Come Out of That State
"The worst part is that it's a very "alone" feeling, something you have selfishly, like your hoarding it. Two depressed people sitting right next to each other will each feel a low of their own, convinced the other couldn't possibly understand it".
What To Do When You Are Depressed or Have Depression
"And to all the depressed people in this thread, please seek help. I dreaded it, but it was worth it thousand times over. I know it seems like bullshit right now, but depression can be treated"
- Try to engage in some elevating activity
- Speak to someone about it
- Consult a therapist
- Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.