What is it like to feel depressed?
No one is immune to experiencing depression, and in our lifetime it will probably happen to one in four of us. There are many different reasons as to why it might happen, and these include our genetic make up, how we were brought up and our reactions to the things that happen to us in our lives. Our feelings are affected by the way we think about things and the way we do things. Often other feelings accompany depression, such as guilt, shame, anger and anxiety.
When we are feeling depressed we tend to think negative things about ourselves, including what’s going on around us at the time and projecting into the future. It can feel like everything is hopeless and that things will always stay the same. We may feel that we are useless and worthless and that we are to blame for everything that goes wrong. We see the world as a horrible place where nothing goes right for us. These thoughts stay with us and we ruminate on them all the time, asking ourselves questions about things we may have done in the past and things we should or should not have done.
Alongside these thoughts, we may experience physical sensations, such as feeling really tired all the time, and changes in our sleep patterns (either sleeping a lot more or less than we normally do). We will probably find it hard to concentrate or remember things and we can lose interest in things that we usually enjoy doing. Our eating habits might change and again, we find that we are either doing more or less of this as we either gain appetite or just don’t feel like eating at all.
As these things are happening to us, we start to get into a cycle of doing less and less. When it gets so bad we might even stop going to work, looking after ourselves or doing things at home. We can isolate ourselves from our friends and family and want to shut the world out. We can get trapped in a place where our negative thoughts create depressing feelings which in turn lead us into isolating behaviour, and because we feel isolated our negative thoughts become stronger and the whole cycle can feel debilitating.
Even though it feels hard, the best thing we can do when we begin to experience these feelings is to open up and talk about them to someone. This could be a family member, a friend, your GP or a trained counsellor. Acknowledging that these feelings are there to someone else, can begin the process of trying to break the depressive cycle that we may find ourselves in.
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