Depression: What It Feels Like #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day four in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I am once again struggling to find the motivation to write. I also didn’t think up a topic for today until just now. Today’s topic is depression. Most people will have some basic knowledge of it, so this isn’t going to be a primarily informative post. Rather, I am sharing what depression feels like to me.

From age seven or eight on, I experienced depression. However, in my case, its main manifestation wasn’t sadness. I wasn’t crying all day. In fact, I rarely cry unless I’ve had a meltdown. Rather, my main manifestation was irritability. This is common in children and adolescents.

However, because my most obvious mental health symptom continued to be irritability into adulthood, I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until age 30. I had some assessments for it when in my twenties, but always checked off just a little too few boxes.

When I got diagnosed with depression in 2017, I first had a screening tool administered. This tool covered some of the more atypical symptoms of depression, such as feeling like a weight is on your body, gastrointestinal symptoms, etc.

Depression to me feels like a constant heaviness on my body. I can literally feel it weighing down on my shoulders.

Another important aspect of depression is feeling low. When I was first assessed for depression in 2007, I didn’t know what the feeling of depression meant, so the psychiatrist clarified it by asking if I’m sad. The thing is though, sadness and depression are very different. Though some people with depression cry all day, most don’t feel particularly sad. It also isn’t a situational thing, as sadness often is.

Another thing about depression is that most sufferers have trouble sleeping, eating and maintaining weight, resulting in weight loss. However, in my case, I sleep too much, eat too much and gain weight.

Suicidal thoughts are also a part of depression, but most severely depressed people are too lethargic to actually be actively suicidal. When I have vivid thoughts of ending my life, I can tell it’s usually more situational and due to emotion regulaiton issues. When I’m “just” depressed, the thought of ending my life is a constant lingering presence at the back of my mind.

Lastly, a common symptom of depression is psychomotor agitation or retardation. This means people get slower or conversely more restless. I tend to experience a mixture of both, but usually when I’m purely depressed, slowness is the overriding symptom.

6 thoughts on “Depression: What It Feels Like #AtoZChallenge

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. Depression is a difficult topic. Reading your experience makes me wonder. I’ve always been considered as a shy and melancholy child. It was many years later, after my parents divorce that someone suggested I might have depression linked to it, but, as you quote, teens are moody and people expect you to move on. Again many years later after a traumatic experience in my life, there came suicidal thoughts, linked to panic attacks, migraines and a general feeling of exhaustion. They didn’t come for days. And simple things like not finding matching socks could trigger any of them. Except for migraines, which might come only when I have a lot of work.
    Although I can’t say I’m fully healed, -antidepressants made things worse- my high anxiety levels usually show up as an undefined feeling that I forgot something important, or that a bad thing is about to happen soon. Only when I can’t keep those feelings at bay, I have a meltdown, but they aren’t as often as before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am so sorry you’ve found no relief from antidepressants. I finally did find some relief from a high dose of Celexa, but it was after years of struggling that I finally asked for a med review and got put on this high dose. Because irritability is a more obvious symptom for me, professionals tended to think this needed medicating and they didn’t look beyond this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks to you for listening. It’s good to see you’ve found meds that work for you. Sometimes the side effects are even worse than the actual symptoms.
        It’s weird how when doctors stick to one diagnose, they don’t seem to really listen to the patient, wait that the pill they give heals us magically, and look annoyed when we tell them the opposite. As if we got sick just to sabotage their treatments.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really appreciated this blog post because I was just facing depression and that’s what made me start back blogging I felt like I was holding a lot in and everything was going in downward spiral in my life. I just love the fact that you shared this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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