Depression is a condition that is widely misunderstood, yet nearly everyone has felt some variation of it.
Unlike experiencing sadness, which is an intense emotion that can have similar sensations to depression, depression tends to linger for prolonged periods of time.
Because of some of the similarities to sadness or other emotions, depression is often trivialized and addressed as being something that the person experiencing it can control.
This and many other misconceptions about depression can lead loved ones and friends to accidentally mistreat a person they care about who has depression.
Before you can help someone with depression, you first need to understand it.
Even if you have experienced depression yourself in some capacity, it is important to know that depression can manifest differently for different people and what you experience or what helps you may be very different for someone else.
Here are 8 things that people who suffer from depression want you to know, but can’t say.
1. Daily routines and activities are draining.
When you have depression it can take a lot of energy just to keep up with daily routines and responsibilities.
Exhaustion and tiredness is a symptom of depression, and just doing the normal day-to-day can feel like running a marathon.
This means that doing anything out of the daily routine or additional can be very difficult and draining.
If a person you care about has depression and keeps cancelling plans or has to leave early, don’t take it personally.
They are doing their best with the little energy that they have.
2. Depression can be irritating.
Feeling melancholy or losing interest in things aren’t the only emotions of depression.
Annoyance and irritability is also common.
Little things annoy you and pile on to make you feel irritated.
This can be perceived as easily angered or aggravated, and also easily moved to frustration or tears.
It’s true that what triggered this response was probably nothing of much importance, but that doesn’t make the feeling go away.
3. Sleep patterns are irregular.
When you have depression, your sleep patterns are typically disrupted and you may be getting too much or too little sleep.
Either way, it typically never feels like enough.
4. Self-care is not a priority.
When you have depression it can be difficult to take care of yourself or your appearance.
This can typically manifest in poor eating habits (not eating enough, or not caring about your health,) messy or unclean clothes, or even unclean living spaces.
These are just some of the daily living tasks that become a struggle.
5. Isolation feels better.
Everyone needs a little alone time to recuperate or center, but depression makes you want to isolate yourself.
You don’t feel like attending social activities with friends or loved ones, and you don’t want to talk to people.
Having a simple conversation can take a lot of effort, and oftentimes you don’t have the energy to make the effort when you are depressed.
Additionally, because you’re easily irritated, you prefer isolation because everything anyone does might annoy you or frustrate you.
This also means that you avoid people who are reaching out, or offering help.
6. Nothing interests you.
Even the things you once loved or were very passionate about are difficult to feel excited about.
Or feel anything about.
Unlike sadness, with depression you don’t really feel anything.
It’s not an emotional response, it a lack of emotional response.
You just kind of feel empty.
7. The glass is always half empty and who cares, anyway?
Pessimism is normal for a person to experience from time to time, but when you have depression it becomes the norm.
You beat yourself up over everything and feel like you can’t do anything right, so why bother?
This is made worse by being easily irritated and/or not feeling interested in things anymore.
8. It’s difficult to concentrate.
There’s so much white noise in your mind—or a complete lack of focus altogether so it feels like you’re in a dream—that concentrating on even small things is difficult.
This can also lead to forgetfulness such as forgetting to call people back, forgetting things you agreed to do, or forgetting what you did with your keys.
Experiencing depression has more physical and emotional effects than simply being sad or angry.
Dealing with depression is a constant struggle, and takes a lot of physical and emotional effort.
Helping a loved one who has depression can be difficult, but understanding their behaviors and a little of what they are going through can help improve your interactions with them and your ability to support them.