The World Health Organization states, “Depression is the leading cause of disability.” It may cause a person to take their own life, damage their relationships, make it highly challenging to work and maintain their health, and sometimes even compel them to end their lives.
If appropriately explained, depression is a mood disorder that causes constant feelings of emptiness and sadness. It may lead to a wide range of mental health problems, physical ailments, and a loss in your capacity to operate both at work and at home.
If we narrow our attention to India, we find that around 56 million people suffer from depression and 38 million people deal with some anxiety illness. In India, in 2022, the prevalence rate of depression is estimated to be 4.50 per cent, and the total number of patients is 56,675,969.
States like Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, etc., have a higher rate of people dealing with depressive disorders. Given these increasing statistics, paying attention to our quality of life becomes very important.
Is it often happening that you do not feel like talking to anyone during the days, and the nights do not let you sleep? Or, are you the adventurous person who is no longer interested in the fun activities that you used to? Do you have trouble concentrating on your studies? Likewise, there are many feelings that occupy a depressed mind.
But, it is only you who can take the first step – Talk!
To know more about depression and what it feels like, stay with us until the end.
What does depression feel like? Is it only sadness?
The idea that feeling depressed is the same as being sad is a common misconception regarding depression.
While many individuals who suffer from depression experience sadness, the feeling of depression is far more intense. It is undoubtedly much more than just the fleeting feeling of sadness, which is a very natural reaction to the ups and downs of everyday life.
The symptoms of depression may last for weeks, months, or even years, eventually making it difficult or impossible to continue living everyday life. It can interfere with professions, relationships, and daily chores like taking care of oneself, and professional and personal life.
If said in detail, depression makes you feel like:
- You become hopeless about life, as everything seems greyed out.
- No self-esteem; since the individual feels that they are worthless and a failure at everything. One may dwell on the negative instances and never pay attention to the positives of life.
- A person with depression does not enjoy life, as they feel nothing can make them happy.
- Even when they get adequate sleep, some people have trouble getting out of bed or constantly feel fatigued.
- Some people with depression may not want to eat, but some find comfort in eating and end up overeating.
- As a result of depression, some individuals also suffer from headaches, nausea, and other physical ailments.
Having depression is a real problem. Depression, in contrast to more normal feelings of sadness or stress, may be overwhelming and consume all your energy.
Types of depression
Everyone is affected by depression differently, and you may experience only some of the symptoms mentioned above. On the other hand, it is also very likely that you’ll also have symptoms that aren’t included here.
It is important to remember that it is not necessary to have depression to experience some of these symptoms regularly.
If your symptoms begin to interfere with your day-to-day life, you should consider the possibility that depression is the cause.
Let us now discuss the different types of depression and how they can affect an individual.
1. Major depression
The most common kind of depression is known as major depression, which is a condition that occurs when an individual’s negative mood consumes them. They lose interest in activities, even those that are often enjoyable.
Insomnia, changes in eating habits or weight, decreased energy levels, and a vague sense that one’s life has no value are all signs of major depressive disorder. There is a possibility that one can also have suicidal thoughts at times.
As per experts, it has been indicated that these symptoms may last for many weeks or months. Major depressive disorder may affect individuals in discrete episodes, while others may be chronic sufferers. It disrupts your relationships and everyday life, regardless of how long your symptoms persist.
2. Seasonal affective disorder
The seasonal affective disorder is yet another term for a disorder that combines major depressive disorder with the seasonal pattern. It is a type that is influenced by seasonal changes, especially beginning in the winter.
It is not entirely understood what causes the disorder; however, researchers believe that it may be connected to the shifts in the amount of available light that occur during the year. The seasonal affective disorder is characterized by elevated or depressed mood episodes that begin and conclude with the changing seasons. The most typical pattern of depression is one that starts throughout the winter and fades away as spring arrives.
People who suffer from this disorder are at an increased risk of having low energy levels, sleeping too much, overeating, gaining weight, and craving carbs.
3. Persistent depression disorder
Chronic depression may take the form of persistent depressive disorder after a while. This category combines two diagnoses: dysthymia and chronic depression condition which lasts for a long time.
People who suffer from PDD have feelings of overwhelming grief and loss of hope. Although these symptoms are present in all types of depression, those who suffer from PDD may experience them for a prolonged time.
Some of the common symptoms included are:
- loss of appetite
- a feeling of inadequacy and low self-esteem
- sadness and hopeless
- unable to feel happiness, even when presented with favourable circumstances
- alterations in one’s sleep schedule or a lack of vitality
5. Depression with symptoms of psychosis
People who suffer from depressive disorders may sometimes develop psychosis due to losing contact with reality. It might lead to hallucinations ( seeing and hearing things that are not there) or delusions, such as believing they are terrible or evil or that someone is watching them.
They have a paranoid mindset and believe that everyone is plotting against them or that they are the reason those around them are sick or experiencing terrible luck.
4. Perinatal depression
Depression during pregnancy or the first four weeks after delivery is referred to as perinatal depression or major depressive disorder with peripartum onset. People also call this postpartum depression, but that term describes depression only after a woman has given birth. Perinatal depression occurs when you are pregnant.
Changes in hormone levels during pregnancy and postpartum might cause brain chemistry alterations that appear as mood swings. The lack of sleep and the physical pain that often go hand in hand with pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby are not helpful.
Perinatal depression is characterized by symptoms that may be just as severe as those of major depression.
- tiredness and exhaustion
- self-harm thoughts
- difficulty in taking care of the baby
This type of depression is prevalent among women who do not have support during their pregnancy or have had a previous episode of depression.
Why does depression happen?
Well, there is no one reason for depression; instead, many factors make a person end up with this disorder.
A part of it may be attributed to biological factors, such as our DNA, the chemical composition of our brains, and our hormones. The other portion includes the environment, like seasons or social and familial issues we experience. And some could be due to our personalities, how we respond to situations or the systems we live in.
Depression is genetic, as per many research papers. Depression-causing genes are inherited. However, not everyone with a family member with depression will get it themselves. Thus, genes are one of the many factors that can cause depression.
2. Stress and trauma
Hormonal shifts and stress may also impact the brain’s biochemistry. A variety of medical problems may cause depression-like symptoms. Hypothyroidism, for example, has been linked to depression in certain patients.
3. Brain Composition
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that aid in the transmission of information between brain cells. Several neurotransmitters are involved in regulating an individual’s emotions. Depressed people may have a lack or ineffectiveness of certain neurotransmitters.
Brain chemistry and genes may be intertwined: a person with depression-related genes seems to be more inclined to suffer from the neurotransmitter imbalance associated with depression.
4. Medication and Drugs
Depression is a common and terrible adverse reaction that many drugs may cause. If you’ve recently started taking a new drug or medication and have noticed that it makes you sad, you must investigate the possible side effects of this medication or speak with your doctor. There might be a better alternative they could provide you.
Drug and alcohol abuse may also lead to or exacerbate depression. Although it may seem as if they are relieving the symptoms of depression, they will make you feel much worse in the long run.
5. Bad Sleeping Habits
Lack of quality sleep is a contributor to irritability. However, it may also make people more vulnerable to depression. One of the sleep disorders associated with depression is insomnia, which leads to often difficulties getting or staying asleep.
Insomnia also prevents brain cell replenishment, impairs cognitive performance, and is a risk factor for depression.
Signs that might indicate you have depression
The first step toward healing and recovery may be determining if your unending bad mood results from depression. The following warning signs may indicate that it is time to consult a mental health professional.
When you’re depressed, it’s hard to find happiness in the things you formerly enjoyed. One of the symptoms of severe depression is the abandonment of previously enjoyable activities.
Persistent negative thoughts
It is very natural to feel negative, as our lives are not always hunky-dory. But, if you discover that your “negative” emotions are sticking around for longer than usual and you can’t seem to “shake it,” depression may be a possibility.
You might be depressed if you find it challenging to keep up at work, concentrate, or finish even the smallest activities at home. Due to the mental and physical nature of depression, even the simplest of tasks may seem overwhelming and difficult to do.
Vulnerable to altered emotions
One moment you laugh out loud, and the next, it’s a fit of rage that breaks forth. The next thing you know, you find yourself weeping uncontrollably. Nothing external caused your feelings to shift, yet they do. Such mood swings are a common symptom of depression.
According to research, people suffering from depression are likely to exhibit irritation, recklessness, or escapist behaviour.
Shall I Ask For Help?
Does anything here seem to resonate with your life at present? Are there lingering emotions you’ve been trying to shake for weeks but can’t seem to do so?
If so, then you could be suffering from depression.
Depressed mood, loss of interest, a sense of worthlessness, concentration problems, and even suicidal tendencies are all warning signs that it may be time to get treatment.
Get Help Now!
Millions of individuals every year suffer from depression, which can be treated with various approaches, including changes to one’s way of life and the use of various pharmaceuticals. But, the first step towards feeling like yourself again is to seek professional assistance. If you feel you have depression or the symptoms match, do reach out to us
At Phanes Clinic, we are all ears to listen to your struggles and dilemmas in life. Our experts are ready to lend you a helping hand and try to come out of the dark and live a better life.