Despite all the work being done today in the area of mental health as well as awareness regarding the same, many people still harbor some massive misconceptions. One particular mental health concern that has for the longest time been misunderstood and mistaken for undesirable behavior broadly speaking is depression.
A statistical report states an excess of 20% of the US population has been diagnosed with depression. Let’s make note of one thing here. This states the number of people ‘diagnosed’. The percentage actually suffering is likely greater. There are probably many out there who could use therapy for depression but probably aren’t aware they suffer from it.
Understanding depression and how it works is important both for individuals suffering as well as those who share space with them in whatever capacity. We’re going to elaborate on what depression looks like besides sadness to help those suffering as well as those not, better understand what it’s about.
Things You Feel when Depressed
Depression can be tricky business. To the outsider it could look like erratic behavior, being over dramatic, an inability to follow instructions or meet deadlines and even being few. This is just to name a few things. To the person suffering however, it is quite another story. Below is a little on what depression feels like.
Depression feels like you just can’t cope. Like your life is just not going your way and there really isn’t a thing you can do to improve the situation. Though this might not be the reality, the feeling of being overwhelmed is very real.
When depressed, anger is a very common emotion that goes hand in hand. This is particularly so for men. You can feel anger towards yourself, others, a situation or believe it or not, even a fictional character on a show you’re watching! Bouts of anger are not uncommon when you suffer from depression.
Many people struggling with depression are mistaken by others for being lazy and unmotivated. This is actually because when you’re struggling to stay afloat with something like depression, it takes energy. This often leaves those suffering feeling spent, mentally and hence physically tired and as a result, unwilling to do even the things they might themselves want to.
Numbness is total disconnect. That’s just it and its one of those things that is hard to explain unless you’ve been there. Depressed people often feel numb. It’s like you’ve been feeling so many unpleasant feelings that suddenly you just snap and feel nothing for a while.
Guilt and Worthlessness
One of the worst things about depression is the way it destroys you from the inside out. People suffering from depression often withdraw because they just don’t feel good enough. Even if the reality is the opposite, when depressed there are times when you feel like you’re not worth anyone’s time or attention and will probably ruin things wherever you go.
You can even be hypersensitive when you’re depressed. Situations and occurrences that might not shake other people may unhinge those suffering from depression. When suffering from depression you can also feel overly sentimental, get easily offended, disheartened and discouraged. Basically, the intensity with which you feel the most normal things becomes exaggerated.
To those who do not suffer from depression, reading this blog will inform and enlighten but it under no circumstances makes you an authority on the subject. Even professional therapists who work withdepression but do not struggle with it understand that the person suffering is the only one who really knows what it feels like.
This is not to say however that you cannot be of assistance. Be available and empathic. For those who do suffer from depression, anxiety or anything else of a psycho-emotional nature, therapy does help and if you’re in Palo Alto, we’re available to support you. Therapy can be an effective tool in helping ground you in the reality of what is as opposed to you losing yourself in your own perception of what may be.
Azizeh E. Rezaiyan is a therapist with over two decades of experience with individuals and couples alike. Possessing a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, among other qualifications. Her areas of specialty include marriage counseling, sex therapy and therapy for male depression to name a few.
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