Depression is often shrouded in misunderstanding. Some believe it means simply being sad and unmotivated, when really, the symptoms of depression often have a way of infiltrating everything, from the smallest, most unsuspecting details of life, to the biggest, most significant aspects of life. And trying to explain this often feels like trying to hold onto water as soon as you start to grasp it, it slips from your grip.
Thats why we asked people in our Mighty mental health community who struggle with depression to share the worst symptoms of depression people typically dont talk about. By opening the dialogue and trying to put words to these symptoms, we can continue to deepen our understanding and uncloak the misunderstanding that leads to the creation of shame and stigma.
Here is what they had to say:
1. Wanting to say whats on your mind, but you cant even explain it.2 So you just cry because you dont even know what youre feeling. Brenda A.
2. The exhaustion. Not only physically, but also mentally. Mentally exhausted from having to apologize for who you are. Mentally exhausted from trying to convince yourself you deserve to be here, be alive. Physically and mentally exhausted from living. Im tired, so tired. Abbie K.3. The black hole I feel in the core of my being. It sucks in life, motivation, concentration, etc. To use another metaphor: its drowning in the
3. The black hole I feel in the core of my being. It sucks in life, motivation, concentration, etc. To use another metaphor: its drowning in the the ocean in the middle of a tempest. Mark M.
4. Literally not showering for months. Not changing your clothes for weeks. Not combing your hair for days. Not brushing your teeth for weeks. With depression, hygiene goes out the window. Zoe S.
5. When Im having an episode but Im not so far gone and part of my rational mind is still present telling me theres no reason to feel the way I do, yet the dark part of my mind still wont release its grip. So Im crying and feeling like Im unloved and worthless yet part of me is still conscious enough to know its a lie, but Im just not strong enough to take back control. Its the most confusing time. Steve H
6. Feeling numb and that feeling of unreality, I can see and take my surroundings in, yet I dont feel a part of it, like a dream sequence. So many people, but at that moment, they mean very little. Patricia Y.
7. The ease in which you can become addicted to something. Your brain trying to cope so you resort to drugs, booze, food, sex, co-dependency. Greg E.1
8. Apathy. When youre depressed, your ability to feel joy from the things you normally love fades, but the worst days are the days Im so numb I can barely even feel compassion or empathy. Im just empty. Like someone disconnected my emotions.1 Anastasia A.
9. Feeling the aches in my entire body from staying still all day; whether that be from laying down or sitting still. People thinking Im lazy for doing it and wishing they could do that when its actually from depression. Ayoung L.2
10. Dissociation. Being so depressed and just gone so consumed that you are no longer yourself. It begins to feel like youre first person in a video game or movie. You have no emotional connection to reality because youre not there. Literally just existing feels impossible. Cat K..
11. Not being able to get to places on time because youre so tired. It takes more energy to get up, get ready and go. I find myself procrastinating a lot because of lack of energy. Im late everywhere I go. Mindy S.
12. Not knowing that something is wrong in the early stage, and hurting other people with your behavior not on purpose of course. As a consequence, they accuse you of many bad things that are caused by the illness you couldnt really control. People make many mistakes out of fear. Asia R.
13. Honestly, the chronic pain that may come with depression. I struggle with migraines when I go through a really deep depressive episode and it makes dealing with everything so much harder.2 Frances W.
14. I think its anger, agitation, irritability and that feeling of having no self-control. I hate when the intensity gets to a point where you cant hold it in anymore and you fly off the handle over a super small thing because you cant regulate this emotion. Often times, when people hear that someone is struggling with depression, they might think, Oh theyre sad, tearful, anxious, hopeless, helpless or have no motivation to change. Some might not realize that anger is a symptom of depression. Depression is anger turned inward. Samantha C.
15. The feeling that its never going to end, or that its genetic and Ill pass it onto my babies. Not feeling like you can explain it because theres not a tangible reason for it. Lacy M.
16. Periods. Your period reacts to your emotional stress level and depression can cause you so much stress because people dont understand, your period sometimes either stops or it just keeps going and becomes super irregular and painful. Harlie B.
17. Mine was not being able to talk. Literally, I couldnt voice any thought because depression made me believe my opinions didnt matter. I forgot what my voice sounded like. Jane S.
18. When you try to rationalize whether its your depression or something normal. Sometimes I think: am I just exhausted because of my sleep schedule? Or because my mind hasnt stopped working or stressing for days? That constant need to rationalize your mental health makes the depression symptoms even worse. Julie K.
19. The internal frustration that you are too scared, guilty or embarrassed to speak out because there is still so much stigma and lack of services, and people who say they are there for you when actually they arent. So you just end up drowning in your own thoughts and your depression or anxiety worsens. Ebony W.
20. Shameful ways in which I keep to myself or my house. It feeds my depression and causes it. The cycle of shame in every aspect of my life. How a dissociative episode can make me gain 10 pounds in three weeks because my stomach is numb and I cant feel whether or not I am hungry or actually sad. Jennifer L.
21. I get paranoid that people are getting annoyed with me and the awful symptoms that go along with it, I also feel guilty if I dont do anything for days, like cleaning the house and self-hygiene. I get overly sensitive to what people might be thinking about me. Erin S.
22. Depression is just another fuel on the fire because I have been diagnosed with multiple conditions. I have a lot of anxiety, and when the anxiety gets bad, the depression gets bad. When the depression gets bad, my self-harm gets bad. When the self-harm gets bad, the self-loathing sometimes becomes bulimia. The obsessive compulsive, borderline personality disorder and the PTSD also get bad. Not wanting to live and the not wanting to take my medicine, which makes everything 10 times worse. Its like a storm, and when it hits, the depression is fuel for everything. It can be crushing at times. Robyn W.
23. I think the worst is when Im having fun with friends or family and it hits me hard and I begin to shut down with no explanation, nothing to have triggered it. Suddenly having trouble enjoying myself with people who I find enjoyable to be around. Maddy F.
24. The foggy thinking was the main thing for me making it almost impossible to concentrate or remember anything, I didnt even know it was a symptom of depression until I told my doctor about it. Rebecca R.
25. Promiscuity. I get so down and depressed that I just want to do anything to make me feel better, even though I hurt myself at the same time. Abel R.
26. The anhedonia. Theres so many things I love doing that depression tends to dull the joy or even take it away completely. Even the smallest fun thing could become an absolute nightmare because of the effort it may take to even get out of bed to do it. Anna P.
27. Gaining weight because you dont know what else to do. Or the weight loss because you are just not hungry and dont have the energy to cook. De C.
28. The guilt. The guilt of hurting your family and friends. The guilt of lying about why you cant do something or go somewhere. The guilt of not going to work. The guilt of staying in bed all day. The guilt of not taking proper care of your everyday responsibilities. The guilt of seeing the hurt in your childrens eyes. The guilt of failure it is all consuming and never ending. Lorraine C.
29. The uncertainty. The fact you dont know if your going to wake up in the same horrible mood, a worse one or a better one. The not knowing if one day youre going to stop being able to actually function. The uncertainty of whether you will be able to hold down your job while also trying to keep your head above water Chloe P.
30. Canceling plans last minute and having my closest family and friends think I dont love them when they are who keeps me going. Megan A.
31. When all the symptoms mix. That awful combo of a lack of concentration, exhaustion and apathy that makes your brain stay in whats like the dial-up tone phase of waking up for extended periods of time. You cant think straight, cant form proper sentences, dont know if you want social interaction or to be isolated, dont enjoy what I usually would, but dont have anything else to do and cant focus on work when I have it. Its like Im just there and useless because I cant function right. Charli J.
32. Not knowing if your thoughts are real or just the effects of depression telling you lies. Feeling betrayed by your own brain and not being able to distinguish what thoughts are true and what thoughts are depression. Dani F.
33. The need to put on an act so everyone thinks you are OK, but inside you feel worthless and like you want to run away. Sometimes you just want to shout that you are suffering and cannot cope, but youre made to feel like you are not allowed to show weakness. The exhaustion and the physical pain caused by holding back tears because you have to appear to function well at home, at work and in social situations. The feeling like you are unworthy and unloved. Vickie B.
34. Not being able to explain why I am depressed. People constantly ask, Whats making you depressed? or, Why are you depressed? and its very hard to keep saying that I dont know. If I knew, I would definitely love to tell you and fix it, but the tough thing is that I just dont why. I just am. Sharon C.
35. When it starts messing with your memory/cognitive functions. I get so scatterbrained and forgetful, cant focus and any memories past about three months are spotty at best and mostly feel like someone elses, as if I read them in a book somewhere. You end up feeling so flustered all the time, like youre falling apart and losing your mind. Any feelings of inadequacy are exacerbated, especially if youre working and your job is demanding. Brianna M.
36. Awareness. Awareness of all the things that are wrong, but the inability to fix any of it. Tired, but I cant sleep, my brain is full of information and thoughts, yet I cant focus and concentrate at work. The physical and emotional pain and weariness and feeling like I have to apologize for all of it. Its exhausting. Jamie G.
37. Wanting to put yourself in dangerous situations. Depression isnt always about laying in your bed, it also can be the urge to be self-destructive. People dont talk about this because its a kind of a grey space. Youre not really suicidal, but you have a kind of urge to put yourself in dangerous situation. Lotte S.
38. When youre typically a super responsible, organized person, and you slowly feel all of it start to unravel. You start showing up late to work, falling behind on tasks, stop eating, start praying that your kids wont notice and you put on that fake smile and try to keep it all together. Through tears and self-doubt, you pull through for them because they need you. Taylor W.
39. Thinking youre no longer in love with the love of your life. Becoming paranoid of them thinking theyre bad for you. It causes the partner to feel unloved, no matter if you still say I love you, they can feel it. Meryl D.
4o. When every decision, no matter how small or big, becomes an insurmountable burden because of your indecisive mind. Then the guilt of having made a decision that always seems to be the wrong one. And then more guilt that makes me think I am useless to anyone in the world including myself. Paridhi C.
41. The selfishness. When I am depressed, I tend to isolate and put my depression first. Everything else is second, even if its not fun or fulfilling, it still can be extremely selfish. It takes the spotlight. Friends and family take a backseat to the depression. Sarah E.
42. The constipation. Whether its because of the bad food Ive been eating, the medication or the fact is all Im doing is sleeping. It takes me weeks to start getting regular again, and nothing prolongs the cloud in my head than feeling bloated and sick on top of the total lack of motivation and self-deprecation. Bethany R.
43. Seeing your children growing up thinking you are grumpy and hate fun when you cant explain whats wrong with you. Knowing they are hungry or bored, but it takes you ages just to get out of bed to hand them a sandwich. Eman H.
44. Preoccupation. My depression has made me preoccupy myself with game apps and simple things I know I can do or change because I feel that I cant change or control anything else in my life. Lauran S.
45. Im constantly excited for the next day, never enjoying the day Im currently in. Then a birthday goes by and I think what have a done with my life but wish for the next day. Jennifer R.
46. How disgusting your house gets. And you hate it. And it smothers you. But the will to take the first step to clean is too overwhelming.. Amanda R.
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