From the conversations I have had with people who have experienced depression, I have learned that no two people experience this illness in the same way. Some have had shorter periods (weeks) and others much longer (years), some describe being mildly affected whilst others have had to completely change their lives. Depression can hold you back from being your best and depression can be utterly debilitating. It can be extremely frightening and isolating and it can be a familiar but unwanted retreat.
The word depressed is often misused to mean unhappy by people who are genuinely and healthily unhappy for a few days. However depression is a nearly permanent low mood over weeks, months or years. Although some people experience depression after life-changing events like the death of a close relative or having a baby, it may also have no obvious cause.
Some people describe feeling hopeless, unable to find joy in anything, even in the activities they have always enjoyed. People may experience sleeplessness or extreme tiredness, a lack a sex drive, loss of appetite or physical pains and many sufferers also experience anxiety. For some, being very depressed can feel like life is no longer worth living or that they do not deserve to live or they may have a desire to hurt themselves in some way. There are many other symptoms that people report experiencing.
Sufferers sometimes wait a long time before seeking help, maybe due to shame or a desire to be strong and ‘just snap out of it’. Whatever your experience is, one of the common expressions that I have heard used is “no-one else understands what it’s like”. True. No-one can truly understand what is like for you but any counsellor will do their best to put themselves in your shoes and understand what depression means to you which seems a great place to start.