Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world, Yes the world. Add to the fact that in any one year 1 million Australian adults will have depression¹ and you begin to realise that there are a lot of people struggling to deal with mental health conditions such as depression.
I often get asked “So what does it actually feel like to have depression?” The answer to this question can be different for each person, but what I can tell you is that actually having depression is vastly different to just feeling down from time-to-time.
This following TedEd YouTube clip gives a good explanation of the difference between just feeling depressed and having the medical condition depression.
With a better understanding of the difference between the two now lets look at what it actually feels like to have depression.
This can be a hard question to answer because having depression can feel different for each and every person. What I may be experiencing might be completely different to what you may be experiencing, this doesn’t mean my depression is worse than yours or vice-versa, it just means we have different symptoms.
For me depression was a secondary mental health condition as a result of suffering PTSD. Whilst struggling to deal with PTSD and the profound impact it had on my life at that time I found myself starting to experience a number of different strange symptoms. Symptoms like an inability to feel happy, excited or to even crack a smile. Not wanting to get out of bed of a morning and an overarching feeling of worthlessness and doom.
It really felt like a big black cloud had descended around my head and blocked out my ability to feel anything other than sadness.
The following short video clip by Anne also gives a good explanation of what it can feel like to have actual depression.
My experience was similar to that of Anne’s with respect to the explanation given to me by my Doctor when I opened up and starting actually telling him what I was experiencing. I mean really opening up and talking about the raw and real symptoms whilst not leaving anything out.
His answer was simple “You have depression”
Having an honest and open no-holes-barred conversation with your Doctor or medical specialist is something that I can’t speak or write enough about. It is so important!
The people that are here to help us are not mind readers, they need to know what you are experiencing in-order to give the right diagnosis, information, guidance and treatment. It is that simple!
So next time you feel disappointed or a bit down about a decision that didn’t go your way remember there is a fair chance you are experiencing the feeling of being depressed.
But if that feeling lasts two weeks or longer than please take some action and go and speak to someone as you may be experiencing the medical condition known as depression.
Life is to short to live it being unhappy. Take some action to feel better, I did and you can too!
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
Strategies to improve your Mental Health
¹Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.