Feeling depressed is an emotional state that is difficult to describe. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines depression as a state of feeling sad. Most people have had some period in their life where they have felt sad. Sometimes this is situational, such as a loved one passing away, experiencing a break up, or feeling stuck in a job. Situational sadness is easier to understand because people can relate to it. Feeling sad for a specific reason is not exactly the same as feeling depressed.
I want to take the description of depression a step further. Yes, it includes a feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in regular activities but I think there is more to it. Depression isn’t necessarily associated to a situation. Imagine having to tolerate feeling sad without any real reason to be sad. Nothing bad has happened. Life is actually wonderful. The person who has so much going for them feels sad and can’t explain why. They simply don’t feel like themselves. Something feels off. It’s harder to get out of bed, hang out with friends, work out, and do everything they’re used to doing. Maybe they’re still able to push themselves but they can’t get rid of this nagging feeling that something is not right. To someone who has never experienced depression (that wasn’t situational) it would be nearly impossible to understand why this person can’t just snap out of it.
When someone is feeling depressed and they don’t want to do much of anything how do they get through the difficult time? Their options may feel somewhat limited. Here are some recommendations:
- If this is something you’ve never experienced before go to your primary care doctor for a thorough check up. It’s a good idea to rule out any potential physical problems that may be affecting your mood and energy levels.
- Consider talk therapy. Trying to explain how you feel to someone who hasn’t experienced these feelings will be challenging. A therapist won’t judge you and has experience helping others through times of depression.
- Consider medication. Anti depressants can be extremely beneficial and often have limited side effects. When depression isn’t situational it’s most likely chemical, that’s why medications can provide relief.
- Combine talk therapy and medication. Research has proven that a combination of talk therapy and medication can be what’s most beneficial to someone at this time of struggle. One or the other will help on it’s own but it’s more beneficial to try them both together.
- As difficult as it might be to continue living life in the same way try to anyway. Distractions can be helpful during this time. Examples include, working out, seeing friends, reading, and continuing to go to work regularly.
- Talk to people close to you who have gone through bouts of depression. They won’t necessarily have answers for you but it will be nice to know you’re not alone and you’re not at fault for feeling this way.
If you feel as though you are suffering and having difficulty tolerating even little things in life get help immediately. It’s hard to see how things will/can get better but try to believe in the possibility. Unfortunately, some days will be harder than others but not everyday will be awful. There are ways to get help and start to feel better.