What Does Depression Feel Like?

Having the “blues” every now and then is usually a normal aspect of living. But, when experiencing a lengthy feeling of sadness and despair, it could be depression. People with depressive conditions don’t all feel the exact same symptoms.

We all have our ups and downs, and sadness is often mistaken as depression. But, sadness is not always an aspect of depression. Sometimes apathy, anger and reckless actions can be signs of depression.

Depression can get in the way of your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy yourself. The feeling of despair is powerful and constant with little relief.

Physical symptoms are commonly seen in individuals with depression. Aches and pains are in fact sometimes the depression symptoms which individuals first complain about. These symptoms can include chronic pain in the limbs, joints, and back.

A significant number of people with depression seeking treatment complain only of physical symptoms. This can make a depression diagnosis difficult.

Those with depression have described it as “living in a black hole”.

What does depression feel like?

  • A gloomy outlook on life, a strong feeling of despair.
  • Getting out of bed in the morning takes huge effort.
  • Low energy levels with constant fatigue. You feel sluggish and physically exhausted. Even small tasks are tiring or take longer than normal to complete.
  • Lack of interest in day to day activities.
  • Social activities, hobbies, sports and even sex are no longer enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite such as uncontrollable binge eating or prolonged loss of appetite, as well as significant weight loss or gain.
  • Doubt and uncertainty about yourself. Harsh self criticism and disapproval with feelings of guilt and being unworthy.
  • Changes in sleep patterns. Both insomnia,  or too much sleeping.
  • You have thoughts of suicide, or have attempted suicide.
  • You have an increase in physical aches and pains.
  • Your thought process is uncontrollably negative, remembering only bad experiences and expecting future failures.
  • You have an overwhelming sense of hopelessness.
  • Even on a sunny day, you perceive the world around you to be cloudy and grey.
 Understanding Depression Chart

Understanding Depression Chart

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References: PMC: PMC486942