Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. According to data from NIMH, around 17.3 million American adults reported at least one major depressive episode in 2017. Surveys show that rates of depression are going up, especially in young teenagers. This could mean that depression is becoming more prevalent. It could also mean that more people are recognizing the signs more clearly. According to John Hopkins Medicine, there are over 50 symptoms of major depression. How depression feels can vary from person to person, but certain symptoms tend to manifest.
Most common symptoms
Many things can trigger depression, such as stress, the loss of a loved one, and other illnesses. There’s also a genetic component to depression, though scientists aren’t quite sure how it all works. For many people, the symptoms that define how depression feels can last for years. Here are some of the more common signs of depression that people report:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, and empty
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling fatigued all the time
- Losing interest in food and losing weight
- Overeating and gaining weight
- Feeling restless and anxious
- Feeling worthless or self-hatred
- Engaging in self-harm
- Struggling with suicidal thoughts
Less obvious symptoms
Because every person is different, depression can come with some unexpected symptoms. Knowing what they are can help you identify if you might be depressed:
Your body hurts
The mind and body have a strong connection, so if your mind is struggling with depression, your body will, too. Many people with depression report back pain, joint pain, and even chronic pain. Headaches can also occur.
You feel guilty all the time
Depression can provoke strong feelings of guilt. When you’re depressed, it’s common to neglect relationships, work, and your normal routine. Feeling like you’re disappointing people and guilt go hand in hand. You might also feel guilty when people try to support you because you don’t believe you’re worthy of love.
You have trouble concentrating
Being depressed can make it harder to focus on anything. Research shows that depression affects both memory and concentration. Not being able to remember things or getting distracted can affect work and relationships.
You neglect basic self-care
Do you find yourself skipping showers or neglecting to brush your teeth? What about doing laundry or cleaning up your place? Depression can strip you of your motivation to do basic things.
You get angry easily
Low motivation, low energy, and sadness don’t always define how depression feels. Feeling irritated and angry at every little thing can also reveal depression. Research shows that anger is common in people who’ve had more serious depression for a while.
If you believe you might be suffering from depression, reach out for help. If you have a doctor, make an appointment to talk about it. You can also look online for services or call a 24-hour helpline like SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services). You don’t have to struggle with depression alone.
Treating depression is complicated because there are so many variations. It’s also tricky because scientists aren’t quite sure how it works. Medication and therapy are the most well-known treatments. Research also shows that something simple like breathing meditation could help, too.