What severe depression is like


Let me start off by saying that this is based on my personal experiences. Everybody may not be exactly the same.

For me, the severity of my depressed state varies.

Sometimes it’s so bad, that I feel like there is a huge weight pressing down on my entire body – and I’m not strong enough to lift/push it off.
It drains all of my energy to the point where I pretty much have to lay in bed, for long periods of time.
I lose the desire to do every day things, including taking care of myself; I even put off going to the bathroom as long as humanly possible.

Once in a while, I even consider harming myself in ways such as cutting myself. Please, don’t do this – I’m just writing about past experiences.
The reason is not for attention, it’s because the physical pain seems to distract from the mental and/or emotional pain for a short period of time. Or if I feel nothing, then it helps me feel ..something. I hope that makes some sense.
Note: I don’t do this anymore, as I’ve learned different coping methods, and it’s obviously not a good or intelligent decision to self-harm.

I can’t help it…

Depression is not something I chose, and it’s not something I can just “toughen up” about and snap out of; it’s caused by some kind of chemical imbalance in my brain.

brain-chemicals-depressed-hippocampus

Research has even shown that the hippocampus (a part of the brain involved with emotional responses) actually shrinks when people are truly suffering from severe depression:

  1. Depression, antidepressants, and the shrinking hippocampus
  2. Depression makes your brain smaller – study

It’s also been shown, that there is less activity in a depressed brain vs non-depressed brain.

PET Scan of depressed vs non-depressed brain. Credit: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

PET Scan of depressed vs non-depressed brain.

Depression affects everything you do, how you think and react.
Sometimes you lose all hope, and can’t imagine ever feeling better. It can seem as if everything is going wrong, and you can’t do anything right.

  • Sometimes you cry even without a specific reason
  • You can feel very irritable – and even angry over things that normally wouldn’t be such a big deal
  • You worry obsessively, about everything and anything
  • Conversation becomes more difficult, and can feel like a chore
  • When making decisions, at times you just don’t care – or don’t have the energy to come up with a good one.
    The same applies to responding to questions – sometimes the easiest answer is just an “I don’t know”
  • You tend to feel lonely; at times, even if people are around you and/or trying to support you.
  • When people do try to help, you just want them to go away.
    They don’t understand, and you don’t have the energy to explain it to them.Sometimes you feel angry that they don’t understand – they think you should just be able to shrug it off and move on with your life.
  • If you try to smile, it feels ‘fake’ and maybe a bit awkward.
  • The world can seem cloudy/foggy to you, even if it’s a nice sunny day.
  • You look at most things with negativity, whether it’s truly a bad or a good thing.
  • At really points, you may even have suicidal thoughts
  • And so many other things..

 

Depressive cycle

Depressive cycle

Depression can cause physical pain/symptoms

Sometimes when I’m very depressed, I actually feel physical pain as a side effect, along with some other symptoms – even when there is nothing actually wrong physically.

For example:

  • Headaches
  • Muscles in general can feel sore all over, in random places.
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • You can read about some more physical symptoms here.

Some more information about depression is available here: Depression Symptoms and Types

And here is a YouTube playlist of some documentaries about depression:
YouTube Documentaries