Depression Awareness Month- What does it feel like?

Posted October 26th, 2014 by

Here at PatientsLikeMe, there are thousands of people sharing their experiences with more than a dozen mental health conditions, including 15,000 patients who report major depressive disorder and 1,700 patients who report postpartum depression. What do they have to say? This word cloud has some of the most commonly used phrases on our mental health forum.

It gives you a feel of the many emotions, concerns and thoughts that surround the topic of mental health. But the best way to increase awareness and knowledge, we believe, is to learn from real patients. To help show what it’s like to live with depression, we thought we’d share some of our members’ candid answers to the question, “What does your depression feel like?”

  • “My last depressive state felt like I was in a well with no way to get out. I would be near the top, but oops….down I go. I truly felt that I would not be able to pull myself out of this one. I felt hopeless, worthless and so damn stupid, because I could not be like other people, or should say what I think are normal people.”
  • “It feels like living in a glass box. You can see the rest of the world going about life, laughing, bustling about, doing things, but they can’t see you or hear you, or touch you, or notice you at all, and you cannot remember how to do the things that they are doing, like laughing, and just being ordinary and satisfied with it. You are totally alone although surrounded by people.”
  • “It feels like walking in a dimly lit hallway (or totally black, depending on the severity) with no exit in sight and no one else around.  You keep walking hoping to come to the end, trying to feel along the walls for some sort of door that will take you out of this tunnel, but to no success. At the beginning you feel like there has to be an end or a door of some sort – something to get you out, but as you keep walking, your hopes damper by each step. You try yelling for help, but no one hears you.”
  • “Depression is very much like feeling as if I have no arms nor legs and (what’s left of) my body is upright in the middle of a road on a cold, dark, foggy morning. I can’t run. I can’t walk or crawl. In fact, I have no options. I have no memory of how I came to be there. I know I’m going to die, I don’t know when or exactly how. There’s nobody around who sees me or understands my situation. If somebody gets close by and I scream, they’ll run away in fear. My family has no idea where I am and I’m alone… except for the headlights down the road.”

Can you relate to any of these descriptions? If you’ve battled depression, we encourage you to join our growing mental health community and connect with patients just like you.

Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word for depression.


One Comment

  1. I am a new member. I am astonished at the number of websites such as this one on which I find nothing concerning new developments in connection with major depression. These are revolutionary. Ketamine has been approved by the FDA for use as as an anesthetic on humans and animals for many, many years. Some years ago it was found that it relieved treatment-resistant depression in hours. Trials have been conducted but to date it has not been approved for use with depression. However, because of the tremendous demand it has been administered in institutional settings and by a number of clinicians around the country. Much, much more could be said. See report on the work done by researchers Dr. Zarate, with NIMH, Dr. Charney, Dean, Ichan School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, Dr. Krystal, Chair of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. This report dated 3-13-14 is found on the website of Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (bbrfoundation.org). See the Ketamine Advocacy website and the report of Steven Levine, a board certified psychiatrist, on his website, heplive.com.
    There is also Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (“TMS”). It has been approved for depressive treatment. It has no side effects. Requires only treatment in-office, by sitting in a chair with a head set containing the magnetic devices. No anesthetic. After about 40 minutes the patient is able to go to work or otherwise continue normal activities. The difficulties are cost and time consumption. The acute phase requires 5 treatments per week for 6 weeks and then they are tapered (tapering not always required). See report dated 9-17-14 on the Medscape website.
    Even newer and perhaps more promising is Low Field Magnetic Stimulation. Here again the effect is rapid mood elevation, a miniscule amount of magnetic stimulation with no side effects. See report dated 7-24-14 on website of Medical News Today.
    This has, of necessity, been very brief. Reports of these developments are found on numerous medical websites.

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