Hey, Psych2Goers! Before we get started, this is a disclaimer that this article isn’t meant to diagnose, treat, or cure anyone. It is our best take on describing a complicated, personal mental illness, not a comprehensive analysis. It is for informative purposes only, so if you or someone you know may be struggling, we urge you to seek professional help from a therapist or another trusted professional.
Do you struggle with depression? If so, do you have trouble describing it to other people? Do you ever feel like no matter what you say, they’ll just brush it off as a rough week or down period? Depression can be a complicated subject that some avoid talking about. However, it is important to learn about it in order to stay empathetic and offer your support whenever you can. So, whether you’re coping with depression yourself or wanting to learn more about its symptoms, these 5 things depressed people know all too well can help further your understanding!
1. Worrying about all social interactions
Have you ever worried about what to say in a job interview or how to respond to an ex? People with depression tend to worry about all social interactions, not just particularly stressful ones. While not everyone with depression also struggles with social anxiety, depression is generally linked with having trouble in social environments. Someone with depression may struggle to interact with others because depression makes them tired. Also, they may feel as if nothing they say will come out right or always question whether people truly like being around them. No matter how many times they’re reassured, this fear of rejection could still always linger at the back of their mind. So, if this sounds like someone you know, try to be patient and encouraging with them.
2. Constantly feeling exhausted and drained
Have you ever pulled a late night and woken up feeling awful? Imagine that but every day. This could be because depression is generally linked to other struggles such as insomnia and anxiety, both of which make sleeping even harder. However, sometimes regardless of how much sleep someone with depression gets, they’ll wake up without any energy. This lack of energy makes it hard to get out of bed and do daily tasks that seem automatic to people without depression. Think of depression as an invisible weight that brings someone down everywhere they go. You may not be able to see the weight, but it’s always there and making life harder for them, so try to be as understanding and kind as possible.
3. Feeling as if life has no meaning
Have you ever tried to pay attention to a class you didn’t enjoy at all? Time seems to go slower, and all you can do is count the minutes until it’s over. This time-slowing, apathetic attitude is somewhat similar to how some depressed people perceive daily living. They may feel as if there is no joy or pleasure in life, making them uninterested in everything. After a while, things may start to feel hopeless, leading to the belief that life has no meaning. They may become unresponsive and unfocused on the world around them as well as lose interest in hobbies and other activities they previously enjoyed. So, instead of dismissing someone as being “a pessimist” or “attention-seeking”, try to understand that they genuinely feel as if life has no meaning and cannot simply stop feeling that way.
4. Low self-esteem
Do you compare yourself to all the models and influencers on social media? People with depression do that on a larger scale. While they may think their body isn’t picture-perfect, it likely goes deeper to them thinking they’re a failure as a person, family member, friend, and everything else. They may see everyone around them living happily and think it’s their fault they’re struggling. Of course, that isn’t the case since depression is no one’s fault, but just like trying to stop comparing yourself to social media, trying to stop thinking you’re a failure is extremely difficult.
5. Complicated relationship with food
Have you ever eaten because you felt sad, bored, or lonely, but not hungry? Much like eating to pass time, people suffering from depression may use food as a coping mechanism. They could overeat to distract themselves from how they feel or to avoid feeling numb. On the other hand, someone with depression could also undereat. They may feel too numb or uninterested, making eating feel exhausting and food seem unappetizing. Try to understand that just because someone has food, doesn’t mean they’re eating healthily, so avoid phrases like, “You should be grateful you have the option to eat, “or, “You’re taking what you have for granted.” Instead, listen to why they’re not eating healthily and try to keep in mind it’s not something that can be fixed overnight.
The bottom line is that depression is complex and personal. It’s hard to explain to those without it, so no matter what, always remember that your feelings and experiences are valid, valued, and deserve to be expressed. You may feel alone but know that there are people out there struggling with the same things you are. You have their, and our, support and encouragement!
To those of you without depression, we hope that drawing parallels from your general daily life to someone with depression’s helped you understand it better! Do you think it did? If you’re struggling with depression, do you think this video will help you explain it to others? Feel free to leave a comment with your experience, feedback, or suggestions!
- Murray Stein, M. (2001, March 1). Social Anxiety Disorder and the Risk of Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/481732.
- Horwath, E. (1992, October 1). Depressive Symptoms as Relative and Attributable Risk Factors for First-Onset Major Depression. Archives of General Psychiatry. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/495917.
- Raes, F. (2011, February 1). The Effect of Self-Compassion on the Development of Depression Symptoms. Springer Science+Business Media. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12671-011-0040-y.