Depression affects all of us at some point, but for others, it can become a chronic issue that debilitates their everyday life. I know I’ve suffered from it a time or two in my life, especially considering the trauma I have experienced.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 20.1 million adults in America suffered from depression in 2020. However, despite how many people get treated for depression every year, there still is a stigma around the subject. The topic feels taboo, as if talking about your experience with depression makes you weaker or ungrateful, or even lazy.
If you’re unsure if you’re experiencing depression or just an off day, here are a few ways to identify depression.
Many people who have experienced depression think it’s just feeling sad all of the time. It’s more than that, though. Depression can be described as a feeling of hopelessness or emptiness. The world around you feels dull and dark, like nothing happy is going to happen again. It’s as if you don’t have any hope for the future, and without that, life doesn’t feel like life.
Many people who suffer from depression lose interest in things they once loved. Whether it’s art, running, or even watching their favorite show, these activities may not give you joy like they once did. Maybe they do the opposite and remind you of happy times you don’t feel like you can experience again. The world just feels dull.
Many people associate depression with laziness because depression causes increased fatigue. While it’s a mental illness, depression will affect you physically. You all feel tired to the point that even basic necessities feel like they’re too much. That’s why it’s common for people with depression to have messy rooms or poor hygiene. It’s not that they don’t want to clean up, and they physically can’t.
There’s a saying that the past causes depression, while anxiety is caused by looking into the future. However, the two are often hand-in-hand. As we’ve already mentioned, depression can make you feel hopeless about the future. If you don’t see a future, you can develop anxiety around the subject or people who remind you of it, even if that’s not what they mean to do. Anxiety can also be triggered by people pressuring you on how you’re feeling or the idea of being out in the world, just to name a few examples.
If you’re suffering from depression, you may hear people suggest changing your mindset or starting a gratitude journal. Then, when these things don’t work, you get frustrated and fall into a more profound depression. It’s not your fault that these things don’t work efficiently. You’re not in complete control of your emotions, and it will take much more than breathing exercises to help confront your mental illness.
Depression can feel like it will never end or be cured. However, I want you to know that it is possible. It can take years of work, speaking with therapists, and developing techniques that work for you. Hope is possible.
If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms of depression, it is time to seek help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a free hotline that can refer you to the right place to seek help, and you can call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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