One of the greatest struggles for those living with depression is the stigma that surrounds the disease. It’s a challenge just to get through your own life, let alone trying to explain the many misconceptions or undisclosed symptoms to those that you love.
It’s not that the people in your life don’t want to help you. Often family, friends and loved ones feel powerless simply because they don’t understand what you’re experiencing having never been there before themselves. They picture the stereotypical depressed person, overcome with sadness, tears rolling down their face. Sure, that may be accurate for some people (they say there is a little truth behind every stereotype), but for many, life with depression takes on a different reality.
Here are 15 symptoms of depression that no one ever talks about, but we want you to understand:
#1 – Going ‘Crazy’
When you’re stuck in a bad place, not only do you struggle to trust those around you, but you also reach a point where you can no longer trust your own mind. From negative, destructive thinking to extreme anxiety, your thoughts may no longer coincide with reality and that can cause great confusion. You’re left wondering if you’re just going crazy.
#2 – Feeling Judged
The negative thoughts that you experience when you are depressed not only come from your own mind, but also from the reactions of those around you, even those that mean well. For example, someone may try to cheer you up by pointing out that you ‘could have it worse’ or you ‘have so many reasons to be happy’. However, when you’re living in this dark cloud it can quickly come across as being judgmental, pushing the person further into their shell.
#3 – No Hope for the Future
Not only do you not see a happy and positive future ahead of you, in time depression will leave you with an inability to look forward to the future at all. The dark cloud that currently dominates your thinking forces you to focus on the failures of the past and present. The future, after all, appears hopeless.
#4 – Change of Appetite
The connection between depression and food is a complicated cycle. Poor eating habits have been found to make depression worse, however, depression often leads to poor eating habits. When you are in that dark place, you may find yourself turning to food for comfort eating countless amounts of ‘junk’ or forgetting to eat altogether.
#5 – Odd or Twisted Dreams
Studies show that depression not only impacts your thoughts when you’re awake, it can also impact your dreams. Those suffering from depression may find themselves experiencing weird, twisted or generally ‘odd’ dreams. Often these dreams are frighteningly life-like.
#6 – Warped Sleep Schedule
Depression has a way of messing with your sleep schedule. You may find yourself completely unable to fall asleep, awake haunted by your toxic, negative thoughts all night. On the other hand, you may sleep for hours on end only to wake up still feeling completely worn-out and exhausted, as if you hadn’t slept at all.
#7 – Feeling Completely Alone
You could be surrounded by the most amazing group of family and friends, but depression has a knack for making us feel completely and utterly alone. If you are reading this because you are trying to better understand the struggles of a loved one, know that it’s nothing you’ve done. The disease isolates those who suffer.
#8 – Physical Aches and Pains
Generally, when you talk about the impact of depression on our lives, we are talking about the mental struggles and challenging emotions. However, no one seems to talk pay attention to the fact that depression can manifest itself in a very physical way. It’s not at all uncommon for those who are suffering to experience chest pains, muscle aches, joint pain, headaches or other otherwise unexplained aches and pains.
#9 – Dislike of Mirrors
Okay, your hatred for mirrors itself isn’t the symptom, but it’s a result of the symptom. Depression erodes our confidence and self-esteem, often leading those who suffer to dislike their physical appearance. The very presence of a mirror leads to self-deprecating thoughts.
#10 – Completely Overwhelmed by Life
It’s not necessarily that just your depression or treatment efforts are overwhelming, everything in life is. There are days that even the effort to get out of bed is more than you believe you are capable of handling. Daily chores like making a cup of coffee or getting dressed seem impossible, as your life leaves you feeling completely overwhelmed and unable to cope.
#11 – Feeling Completely Numb
Many people assume that depression always equates to feelings of extreme sadness – crying in the corner unable to stop, however, this isn’t always the case. Many people find that they go a step further, completely shutting down emotionally. This means you feel completely numb, no happiness and no sadness – just nothing.
#12 – Altered Life View
People may try to appeal to your logic in an attempt to help reset your way of thinking, however, depression is anything but logical. As you start to rationalize your depressed thinking, you will find it harder and harder to distinguish between the truth and the disorder.
#13 – Inability to Ask For Help
How many times do we hear family and friends, after they discover we’ve been struggling, asking why we didn’t just ask for help? As if it’s as easy as picking up the phone… The truth is that depression erodes our feelings of self-worth in such a way that we feel like we would be nothing more than an inconvenience or a bother. It literally prevents us from asking for the support that we need when we’re in that dark place.
#14 – Extreme Guilt
Whether you are feeling guilty because you finally convinced yourself to ask for help, or because you believe that your disorder is somehow impacting the lives of those you love in a negative way, those who live with depression often also live with extreme guilt. This can prevent people from seeking the help that they need to recover, either from loved ones or professional assistance.
#15 – Irritability
An incredibly common symptom of depression, it’s surprising that this one doesn’t get more attention. Why? You’d think that this would be one of the easiest signs that others could watch out for. Bogged down by everything you are currently experiencing, those who are suffering from depression often become grumpy or highly irritable, snapping at those around them and exhibiting little to no patience.
Image via Family World News