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Almost everyone today, at some point of time in their lives, have have felt low and depressed. In fact, one of the most common words used in day-to-day conversations today is depression. It is a great topic that keeps conversations going. People often talk about how someone has been feeling depressed. Ever since Bollywood actors like Deepika Padukone spoke up about depression, it is no longer treated with the same stigma and indifference as earlier. Despite all this awareness about this mental condition, it unfortunate that so many smart, well read and highly educated people are so clueless about how living with depression. Many people have no idea how depression can significantly affect one's day-to-day life.
There's a lot of difference between being just sad and depressed. Being depressed has nothing to do with being sad. These are the ten things a patient living with moderate to chronic depression experiences on a daily basis while struggling to lead a normal life.
When you are depressed, you no longer function like you used to. You will find yourself putting off taking a bath, making your bed, keeping your house clean or even brushing your teeth on some days. Your self-esteem hits an all-time low. Every time you see your reflection in the mirror, all you can see are your flaws and shortcomings.
When you are depressed, you tend to be very hard on yourself. You feel like you re constantly letting down your loved ones and beat yourself up for having a condition you just can t control.
Making yourself a cup of tea can seem like a gigantic task. You find that you take much longer to complete simple steps and get overwhelmed easily. You re unable to concentrate on work or studies and constantly feel like your batteries need to be recharged despite taking long breaks.
A common misconception is that depression cannot affect you physically. However, that is far from the truth. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2004 has confirmed that the physical symptoms of depression include chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, chest pains, gastrointestinal problems, fatigue and sleep disturbances .
Not everyone who is depressed spends the entire day crying into a pillow or just feeling sad. Chronic depression acts a lot like a Dementor (from Harry Potter) and leaves you feeling completely hollow or empty on the inside.
Being irritable and grumpy is a symptom of depression that is often ignored. You will find yourself snapping and losing your temper over the smallest triggers. Due to lack of awareness about this symptom of depression, you will be labelled as moody or unstable.
Depression causes a lot of sleep disturbances. You might feel tired and exhausted after surviving yet another day but despite that, you won t get any sleep. On the other hand, if you re oversleeping it could be a sign of depression.
When you re living with depression, you are likely to lose friends. Not everyone will understand what you re going through or have the inclination to provide any support. Another major side-effect of depression is that you lose interest in socialising and being around people. You feel like no one can understand you and you start isolating yourself by spending far too much time in your room alone. Consciously make the effort to reach out to a few people and to build a strong support system.
Finnish researchers found a link between depression and nightmares as they observed that depressed individuals were far more prone to nightmares as compared to healthy people. Frequent nightmares could also be a sign of post stress trauma disorder (PTSD).
When you re struggling to deal with depression, your loved ones will call you lazy and even blame you for not putting in enough effort. However, it is important for you to remember that just like you would get a viral fever or other physical ailment treated by a doctor, depression can also be treated with the right psychiatrist or psychologist. Here s how to help yourself when fighting depression.
Reference: Trivedi MH. The Link Between Depression and Physical Symptoms. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2004;6(suppl 1):12-16.
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